Bowmore 2000 Review, Benrinnes 1995 Review, Longmorn 1996 Cask 72323 Review, Longmorn 1996 Cask 72319 Review, Auchroisk 1990 Review


“The Ultimate Whisky Company 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 five Single Malts, 4 from Speyside and 1 from Islay, bottled by the Dutch Independent Bottler The Ultimate Whisky Company. Enjoy! 

Van Wees (The Ultimate Whisky Company)

The Ultimate Whisky Company was founded in 1994 when Han and Maurice van Wees started to select their best casks for bottling under "The Ultimate" label. These Single Malt Single Cask Whiskies are not Chill-Filtered and maintain their Natural Colour. All regions of Scotland are represented in the series. Each bottle is numbered and all cask details are mentioned on the label. Currently, the Ultimate series consist of 35 expressions. You can find them on their website The Ultimate Whisky Company. Since 1994 more than 750 Single Malts have been released under The Ultimate Label. In today's Special I will look at five 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. The Ultimate Single Malt Scotch Whisky is one of the brands of B.V. Groothandel van Wees, located  in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. 
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Whisky Review # 648

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore 2000
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel (346 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No  
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Neutral. Okay but Nothing Special.

Colour: White Wine/Pale Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose: Typical Bourbon-Matured Young Bowmore. Please give this Malt sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. The slightly Dirty Smoke, a little Tar and Coastal Peat are there of course but they remain in the background. The Alcohol is quite present so you need to find your way around it. On the Nose, this Bowmore shows Sweet, Sour, Mineral and Fruity elements. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Grass, Musty Straw, Lemon, Brine, light Iodine, Leather, Cigar Ashes, Bread Dough, Green Apple, Wet Sand and Stones, Refill Wood or Wood Shavings, light Pepper, Ginger and hints of Gooseberries, Cured Meat and Shellfish.   

Palate: Sweet with a few Sour, Bitter and Herbal notes. I find Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Charred Oak, Straw, Grass, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Dirty Earth, light Iodine, light Tar, light Soot, Brine, Lemon - and Orange Zest, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Ginger, light Licorice, Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder and hints of Leather, Raspberries and Floral Perfume.   

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter Sweet with increasing Bitterness and a Metallic  note towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Dirty Earth, Straw, Wet Cardboard, light Iodine, light Soot, Brine, Cigar Ashes, Tannins, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pepper, Ginger, Herbs, Heather-Honey, Licorice and hints of Leather and Dark Chocolate.

Rating: 83 

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

Conclusion

This Bowmore was distilled on the 31st of May, 2000. It matured for 12 Years in Hogshead # 1437 and was bottled on the 29th of March 2013. The last known sales price was around 50 US Dollars which is okay. I have no idea of the current value of the odd bottle that's still around on the Internet. Personally I would not bother too much in finding this Bowmore expression. It's not bad but there are some flaws, especially in the Finish. Above all, it's utterly forgettable and without any Wow factor.


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Whisky Review # 649

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Benrinnes 1995
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon cask (345 Bottles) 
Chill Filtration: No   
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ Interesting but with a few flaws. Okay at US$ 50,-. 

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet, Mature and very Fruity. My first impressions are warm Apple Pie and Pina Colada. I also find Sweet Barley, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits),  Vanilla, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Hay, Grass, Pear, Banana, Coconut, Pineapple, Citrus, Apricot, Rittersport Strawberry Yogurt Chocolate, Charred Oak, Ginger, Cinnamon and light Pepper. I would score it higher but unfortunately I also get two less favourable notes. The first one is something Musty that I find hard to place. The second one reminds me of cooked Cabbage. I don't know if the cask is to blame or something happened during distillation. A pity anyway. 

Palate: Bitter-Sweet with some Herbal and Sour notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Molasses, Toffee, Citrus, Strawberry-Flavoured Yogurt, Grappa, Apple, Pear, Banana, Gooseberries, Heather-Honey, Cured Meat, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Menthol, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak and Dusty Road.   

Finish: Middle-Long. Mostly Sweet but also with a light Bitterness that pops up right at the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable by now. I find Malted Cereals, Brown Sugar, Molasses, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Milk Chocolate, Peach-Flavoured Yogurt, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Citrus and hints of Aniseed, Menthol, Licorice, Tobacco and Wet Rocks.

Rating: 82   

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

Conclusion

This Benrinnes was distilled on the 6th of June 1995. It matured for 17 Years in Hogshead # 5886 and was bottled on the 4th of June 2013. The last known sales price was around 50 US Dollars which is okay. I have no idea of the current value of the odd bottle that's still around on the Internet. Most of the Spirit distilled at Benrinnes is destined for the Johnnie Walker & J&B Blends and I can see why. It's a robust Spirit that can compensate for lighter components. The Flora & Fauna 15 years is basically the only official Distillery Single Malt. So most Single Malts around are launched by Independent Bottlers. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this Benrinnes expression. It's quite Fruity with some not so common Dairy notes. But during the Nosing and Tasting, the Cabbage and the Musty notes kept haunting me on a regular basis. Still it's certainly an interesting Malt to try out and if you can find it at around 50 US Dollars, give it a go.

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Whisky Review # 650

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Longmorn 1996
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.5%
Maturation: Sherry Cask (608 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No   
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‰Well Made. Quite Woody! Hard to find. Not cheap.

Colour: Copper with Brown and Mahogany notes (Natural Colour)

Nose: The ABV is quite high so be sure to give this Longmorn sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. I get a little Sulphur but in this case it incorporates without any effort in the Aroma profile. The Sherry influence is very clear and there's a real chance you start humming "White Christmas" when nosing this Longmorn. I find Rum Soaked Christmas Cake dotted with Dried Apricot, Raisin, Sultanas, Nuts, Plums and Figs. There's also Malted Barley, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Blackcurrant Muffins, Orange Peel, Pineapple, Vanilla, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Road, Oak, Resin, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Clove and Ginger. Hints of Waxed Leather Upholstery, Floral Perfume and Dark Espresso with a splash of Brandy. The Alcohol is reasonably well-integrated.

Palate: Strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. The Alcohol is quite noticeable by now and so are Wood and Wood Spices. Based on the Palate and also on the Finish I feel that this Longmorn overstayed its cask time for a year or two. The Wood, Herbs and Spices take control and the Fruit moves to the background. I find Malted Barley, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, the Christmas cake from the Nose, Orange Peel, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Licorice, Menthol, Tobacco, Sour Cherries, Waxed Leather, Dark Chocolate, Espresso and Herbal Tea.    

Finish: Bitter-Sweet, Woody, Spicy and Herbal with good Length. Quite Dry in the end. The Alcohol is quite strong. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Orange Peel, Vanilla, Chocolate, Walnuts, Espresso, Brandy, slightly Sour Cherries, Heather Honey, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Licorice, light Menthol and hints of Waxed Leather.   

Rating: 86.5 

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

Conclusion

This Longmorn was distilled on the 1st of May 1996. It matured for 17 Years in Sherry Butt # 72323 and was bottled at Cask Strength on the 11th of October 2013. The last known sales price was around 175 US Dollars. I have no idea of the current value of the odd bottle that's still around on the Internet. If you like medium-heavy Sherried Speysiders, this Longmorn will certainly please you. You must also like Oak and Wood Spices though as they are quite dominant. Not on the Nose mind you but certainly on the Palate and in the Finish. Personally I believe this Longmorn should have been bottled some 2 years earlier. That way the balance between Wood, Fruit and Spices would have been better. It's still a nice after-dinner Malt though. It won't be cheap though but first you must find the odd bottle! Good Luck!

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Whisky Review # 651

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Longmorn 1996
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.2%
Maturation: Sherry Butt (600 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No   
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‡ Not cheap of course but Excellent Sherried Longmorn.

Colour: Mahogany/Chestnuts (Natural Colour)

Nose: One of the darkest naturally coloured Whiskies I've Nosed and Tasted so far. First thing I notice is the fact that the Alcohol is nicely integrated in this case. Well-Matured is my second observation. This is a great Nose for Sherry Bomb lovers. There is a bit of Christmas Cake here as well as a little Sulphur but they are an integral part of the Aroma profile and do not stand out. What does stand out though is the high quality Dark Chocolate. Simply delicious. I also find Malt, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Figs, Prunes and Plums, Nuts, Black Currants, Orange Peel, Cherries, Banana, Balsamic Vinegar, Rum, Brandy, Oak, Resin, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol, Polished Leather and Espresso. I get lots of Aromas with every sniff but somehow the balance remains intact. I like that. This is impressive. Good cask, great nose!     

Palate: Strong Delivery thanks to the high ABV. In fact the Alcohol is of course more noticeable but not in an unpleasant way. On the Palate this Longmorn is Bitter-Sweet, quite Dry and with some Herbal and Sour notes. I find nice Thick Sherry, Malted Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Figs,  Sultanas, Apricot and Plums, Cherries, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Rum, Brandy, Oak, Tannins, Orange Peel, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Dried Herbs, Aniseed, Licorice, Strong Espresso and Polished Leather. Lots of Flavours but always a nice balance between Bitter, Sweet, Sour, Wood, Herbs and Spices.

Finish: Pleasantly Long. Mostly Bitter-Sweet but with a few slightly Sour tones as well. Again good Balance. Quite Dry towards the end. The Sherry remains Thick and Delicious right till the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable by now. I find Malted Barley, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Oak, Tannins, Walnuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums and Prunes, Dried Herbs, Rum, Brandy, Milk  and Bitter Chocolate, Orange Peel, Candied Cherries, Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Menthol, Tobacco and hints of Espresso and Polished Leather. 

Rating: 88.5

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

Conclusion

This Longmorn was distilled on the 1st of May 1996. It matured for 17 Years in Sherry Butt # 72319 and was bottled at Cask Strength on the 23rd of July, 2013. The last known sales price was around 230 US Dollars. I have no idea of the current value of the odd bottle that's still around on the Internet. It's worth the money though. This is a Malt for special occasions like Christmas Eve. What I like most about this Longmorn is the balance. There are lots of Aromas and Flavours to be found but they all work together somehow. And while the Alcohol is strong, it just adds to the feeling of near perfection. The cask was of good quality. Perhaps this Longmorn could have been bottled a year earlier but now I'm nitpicking. If you can find a bottle of this Longmorn just buy it if you have the means. You won't regret it.


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Whisky Review # 652

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Auchroisk 1990
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 22 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon cask (334 Bottles)  
Chill Filtration: No    
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Not for everybody! Go for it if you like the profile!

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Make sure to give this Auchroisk enough time in the glass before Nosing. My first impressions are Cooked Cabbage and Plastic/Rubber. That's not a good start! It smells a bit Dirty and there are some Sour notes. The Alcohol is a little rough as well. You really need some patience here. With time these unpleasant notes get less intense. After half an hour or so I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Orchard Fruit, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, light Citrus, Hazelnut-Chocolate, Nougat, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Mint, Dried Herbs and Heather-Honey. I was expecting much more Oak to be frank. In a blind tasting I would never have thought this to be a 22 Year old Malt.  Cask  # 3659 was not overly active in my opinion. At the end I pick up Tangerine notes while nosing the edge of the glass. All in all however I'm not very impressed by this Nose.  

PalateBetter than expected after the disappointing Nose. It's still a bit Dirty and there are many Sour notes but there is something original here as well. This is not your average mainstream Speyside Malt. Here I am, Take it or Leave it. That's the feeling I get here. There's certainly more Oak now and I also find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Butterscotch, Nougat, Toasted Nuts, Straw, Apple, Pear, Grapefruit, Gooseberries, Lemon, Pepper, Clove, Licorice, Menthol and Ginger. 

Finish: Bitter-Sweet, quite Creamy, a little Hot and Spicy. Medium-Dry in the end. The Oak is more noticeable by now. I also find Porridge, Caramel, Almonds, Heather-Honey, Plum Jam, Citrus Peel (Orange and Lemon), Grapefruit Juice, Gooseberries, Menthol, Pepper, Cloves and light Licorice. 

Rating: 82.5

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

Conclusion

This Auchroisk was distilled on the 20th of February 1990. It matured for 22 Years in Hogshead # 3659 and was bottled on the 11th of January 2013. The last known sales price was around 120 US Dollars. I have no idea of the current value of the odd bottle that's still around on the Internet. The Nutty and Malty Spirit of this distillery is mostly used in the J&B Blend. The Auchroisk 1990 is not at all your average Speyside. It's bold and dirty and has a mind of its own. I did not like the Nose a lot but Palate and Finish are certainly interesting. Not a Malt for everybody but give it a try if you fancy the Aroma/Flavour profile. It won't be easy to find though!


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

Jan van den Ende                                                                   October 2, 2017

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