Showing posts with label 12 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 12 Years. Show all posts

Teacher's Golden Thistle

”There’s No Thistle Without Thorns”

Whisky Review # 927

Country: Scotland
Brand: Teacher's Golden Thistle
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of American & European Oak with Islay Cask Finish (Laphroaig)
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range : US$ 17-23 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Very competitive at this Price Level
Buying Advice: 😐 If you like Teacher's you should surely give this one a try. 


Amber (Artificially Colored)


The Nose is mainly Sweet and on the Thin side. The Grain Alcohol is noticeable but not in an aggressive way. I can't find any disturbing off-notes. We can safely state that the Islay Finish must have been short and that 3rd and/or 4th refill casks were used as the coastal peat element is basically non-existing. There is a very faint hint of Peatsmoke but it's of the earthy Ardmore variety. Still, I have nosed far worse at this price level.

Main Aromas:

Malted Cereals, Toast & Margarine, Caramel, Sugar, Grain Alcohol, Unripe Orchard Fruit, Peanuts, (Dried) Red Fruit and Leather.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Sweet Barley, Treacle, Citrus, Peat/Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Straw, Mint, Licorice and hints of Cooked Vegetables/Potatoes.


Rather Thin. A mix of Sugary Sweet, Sour and lightly Bitter notes. The Alcohol is more noticeable now but given its price class it stays within reason. The overall picture is less aggressive when compared to the Highland Cream and the Clan.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, Grain Alcohol, Peatsmoke, (Dried) Red Fruit, Green Apple, Lemon, Nut Shells, Pepper, Licorice and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
Vanilla, Toffee, Syrup, Straw, Sweet Barley, Cocoa Powder, Peanuts and Leather.


Short/Middle-Long, rather Thin and mainly (Sugary) Sweet. A few Bitter notes from the casks and a little Heat caused by the Grain Alcohol. This is easily the worst part of this Blend. I find some Sugared Grains, Grain Alcohol, Toffee, Caramel, Wax, Refill Oak, Peatsmoke, Nut Shells, Menthol, Pepper, Licorice and Leather.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water enhances the Fruit on the Nose but totally kills Palate and Finish. I will finish this bottle on the Rocks as it's the most agreeable way to enjoy this Thistle.

Rating: 76.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 19

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience On the Rocks: Good


When William Teacher commisioned his new Office in Glasgow in 1875 he used the national flower of Glasgow, the Thistle as a key design element on the front of the building symbolizing strength & beauty. The building, made with Golden Sandstone is still a very recognizable Glasgow icon and a long standing tribute to W. Teacher's famous blend. Teacher's Highland Cream is one of the best selling blends in Brazil, especially in the North-East. Brazil and India are two of the main markets for the Golden Thistle 12 Years. The Grain Whisky and the Malt Whisky with Ardmore and Auchentoshan as the main ingredients are matured, blended & finished in Scotland before being shipped in bulk to Brazil where the blend is diluted to 40% and bottled.

Let me start by saying that the presentation of this Thistle is quite nice. Box, Bottle and Label are all a big step up when compared to the standard Teacher's. The 2nd positive thing to mention is its price. Quite competitive in the battle with JW Red and the likes. And quality wise it's a little step up when compared to the Clan and the Highland Cream. Quite enjoyable on the Rocks as well. But still too Thin, too Bland and too Edgy to enjoy as a sipping Whisky. I'm not a huge fan of Teacher's in general but this is the way forward in my opinion! Let's see if the sales figures confirm my view!


Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 26, 2021

Ardmore, the spiritual Home of Teacher's

Arran 2006 (Greek Whisky Association) Review

“Griechischer Malt”

Whisky Review # 830

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran
Exclusive Bottling for: Greek Whisky Association - Private Cask Series
Distilled: 26/07/2006 - Bottled: 11-04-2019
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask 2006/800483 - 277 Bottles
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.3% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Sherry Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 75 (September 2019) - Sold out in the meantime!
Sample provided by Georgios from Greece. Many thanks!
Price Quality Ratio: Okay
Buying Advice: Good Sweet Sherried Highlander. 😭Unfortunately it's sold-out!


Chestnut (Natural Colour)


It would be almost impossible to recognise this as Arran Malt in a Blind Tasting. The active Sherry cask is responsible for that. I think I might recognise it as a Sherried Highlander though. The Sweet Nose certainly reminds me of Christmas Time with lots of Dried Fruit, Soft Spices and Nuts. Please give this Arran enough air time before Nosing. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not spoil the fun.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Yeast, X-mas Cake with Port Wine-Soaked Raisins, Dried Apricots, Mixed Nuts, Caffe Latte, Oak, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Peach, Plum Jam, Pralines, Candied Pineapple, Lemon, Perfumed Candle Wax, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Pepper, Cloves and Nutmeg.


Sweet and Mature. The Alcohol is more noticeable now. It's quite consistent with the Nose in presenting lots of Dark Dried Fruit, Spices and Nuts. Quite Dry.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Christmas Cake with Port Wine-soaked Raisins, Salted Carmel, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Caffe Latte, Dark Orange-Flavoured Chocolate, slightly Musty Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Stewed Apple, Mixed Nuts (Almonds and Walnuts), Shortbread with Plum Marmalade, Peach, Candied Pineapple, Espresso, Tobacco and Wet Paper.


Middle-Long & Bitter Sweet. Quite Dry in the end. I find Caramel, Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Seville Orange, Mixed Nuts like Almonds and Walnuts, Extra Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Furniture Wax for Leather Upholstery, Iron, Espresso, Port Wine, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Because of the small size of the sample. I only tasted this Arran neat.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good


Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) are in the process of finalising another distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran that will take care of the peated expressions. Production of this new distillery could start in early 2019. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 14 18 and 21 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Lochranza Reserve and Machrie Moore. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit more so as the isle of Arran is a very nice and relatively quiet place.

The 2006 Arran GWA is a well-matured Sherried Highlander. You could argue that 12 years in a Sherry Cask slightly overpowers the light and fresh Arran Spirit. I've tasted Bourbon cask-matured Arran Malts that received a Sherry Finish and I found them a little bit more balanced. But if you like a Sherried after-dinner (Christmas) Whisky you can't go wrong with this bottle.


Jan van den Ende                                                            September 5 , 2019

All Pictures were taken during our visit to Arran in May 2017

W.L. Weller 12 Years Review

“Pappy Van Weller”

Whisky Review # 626

Country: USA
Brand: W.L. Weller
Type: Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: Charred New American White Oak Barrels     
Price Range: US$ 25-35 in the USA (July 2017). An average US$ 100 elsewhere. 
Buying Advice:😄 You should buy it if you can get it under 35 US Dollars. No need too spend more. Go for Maker's Mark as an affordable alternative!

Colour: Bronze with a shade of Red (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and Pleasant. Reminds me of Maker's Mark. Thick layers of Sweet Corn, Vanilla and Caramel. It clearly misses the punch of the Rye but it's quite nice in its own right. I also find Toasted Oak, Buttered Toast, Banana, slightly Sour Blackberry-flavoured Yogurt, Freshly Baked Apple Pie, Honey Nuts Cereals,  Peach Jam, Cinnamon, Ginger, Fresh Mint, Sugared Almonds, Acetone and a few traces of Orange, Dirt Road, Rum and Leather. Not overly complicated but quite delicious! Could smell this for hours!

Palate: Medium-Sweet with a few Sour, Herbal and Spicy notes. I find Sugared Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toasted Oak, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Rum, Orange-Flavoured Chocolate, Toasted Nuts, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Dirt Road, Fresh Mint, Aniseed, Honey Nuts and Herbal Tea. A bit of Tutti-Frutti Bubble Gum after a while. It's not bad but it's a lot less Sweet than you would expect after the Nose. A bit disappointing quite frankly!   

Finish: Bitter-Sweet, Herbal and quite Dry in the end with Honey Nuts, Toasted Oak, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Orange-Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Muffins, Dried Herbs, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Rum and Herbal Tea. The Alcohol and something that reminds me of Varnish spoil the fun a bit in this department. A bit too dry for my taste as well. This is the weaker part of this Bourbon.

Drinking Advice:
No Need to add Water to the Weller 12 Years. It's quite nice over Ice as well but you should at least Nose it neat!

Rating: 86

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

The W.L. Weller 12 years is produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, owned by Sazerac Company Inc. The Mash Bill is undisclosed but is said to be the same recipe as the Van Winkle Lot B. The only difference seems to be that hand picked barrels are used for the Van Winkle. Therefore, the W.L. Weller 12 Years is very often called the "Poor Man's Van Winkle". As a result, prices have increased dramatically over the last few years, mostly in the secondary market. Corn is of course the main grain used for this Bourbon but it is followed by Wheat rather than Rye. A little Malted Barley completes the Mash Bill. William Larue Weller was said to be the first American distiller that used Wheat in the Mash Bill.

Drinking Experience: Good. Great Nose!


It's quite amazing that such a nice Wheated Bourbon is available at around 30  US Dollars. If you can find it at that price of course. And that's not at all easy depending on where you live. On the Internet I've seen prices in the 75-100 US dollar range. Don't spend that kind of money though. Go for Maker's Mark in that case. But at an average 30 US Dollars, the W.L. Weller 12 Years is a must buy! If only for the Nose! If you like Sweet Bourbons, you will love this Nose! As so often, Palate and Finish can't maintain the same high level. They are not as Sweet as the Nose would let you to believe and the Finish is really too dry. At least in my opinion. Still, at 30 US Dollars this would certainly be my every day Wheat Bourbon if I could find it in Brazil. Unfortunately I've never seen it around here. Not even in the Duty Free Shop at the Sao Paulo airport. I'll have to stick to my Maker's Mark for the time being! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                        July 24, 2017

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Cardhu 12 Years Review

“Barley Juice”
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Cardhu
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 years
ABV: 40 %

Cardhu in the Splendid Scottish Sunshine!

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Sweet Barley, Nuts, Heather and other Floral tones, Straw, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Vanilla, Plum Jam, Dried Apricot, light Citrus, light Pineapple, light Oak, Light Apple, light Peach, Dusty Roads and hints of Milk Chocolate and Black Coffee that was brewed a couple of hours earlier. There's nothing wrong with the Nose and it's quite balanced and pleasant. But it's also rather boring for a Single Malt. Only the Barley really stands out.

The Small But Cosy Shop!

Palate: Thin and Watery Delivery. The Sweet Barley and Brown Sugar follow the Nose. I also find Toffee, light Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Dried Herbs, Red Currant Juice, light Citrus, light Pepper, light Cinnamon, Straw, Dry Oak and a hint of Cardamom.
The Stainless Steel Mashtun!

Finish: Quite Short and Sweet with Barley, Sugar, Orange Peel, Nut Shells, light Vanilla, Dry Earth, light Oak, light Spices and light Menthol.

Some of the Washbacks!

With a couple of drops of water the Nose gets even more Malt and a bit of Honey as well. But palate and Finish do not accept extra Water very well. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 83  

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

Grey Warehouses under a Grey Sky!

General Remarks: Because of the large demand for the Cardhu Single Malt 12 Years in Spain and its importance for the JW Blends, there are not many other Distillery Expressions. In 2011 the 15 and 18 Years were released, basically in Southern Europe. And, in 2013, the 21 Year Old was introduced as a Special Release. The 12 Years matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks and sells at around 50 US Dollars.

Inside One of the Warehouses!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good 

Conclusion: The Cardhu 12 Years won't disappoint beginning Whisky Drinkers as it's Soft, Smooth and Sweet and showcases familiar Aromas like Toffee, Vanilla and Assorted Fruits. But if you're already a seasoned Whisky lover you will find this Single Malt lacking in Personality, Depth and Complexity. The Nose is the best part of the Cardhu 12 Years. But on the Palate and in the Finish it's both utterly Drinkable and Forgettable! 

A Special Cask!

Some Data: Cardhu means Black Rock. The Distillery is located in Knockando , Morayshire, some eight miles South-West of Aberlour. It was founded in 1824 by John Cumming and was bought in 1893 by John Walker & Sons. Today it belongs to the Diageo Group. Cardhu Single Malt is mostly known as a very important part of the Johnnie Walker Blends but it has always been a very popular Single Malt in Spain. Today, Diageo is looking to reposition the Cardhu Single Malt in other markets  as well. The Distillery possesses a Stainless Steel Full Lauter Mash Tun, 10 Wash Backs and 3 Pairs of Stills. In 2013 their total production amounted to around 3,4 million litres. 

The Classic Tour Tasting!

The water for the distillery is sourced from a Spring on Mannoch Hill. From Easter to September, the Distillery opens from Monday - Friday from 10.00 to 17.00 hours, on Saturday from 10.00 to 17.00 (July-September) and also on Sunday from 12.00 to 16.00 (July September). From October to Easter it only opens from Monday to Friday from 11.00 to 15.00. You can do the Standard Tour at 4 Pounds, the Classic tour at 6 Pounds or the Aroma and Flavour Tour at 8 Pounds. The latter must be booked in advance.

Let the Nose do the Talking!

We visited Cardhu on Friday May 23, 2014. Unfortunately it rained again for most of the day. First we had a look at the cosy little Shop where I bought the Miniature of the 12 Years I'm reviewing today. It was a very quiet day at the Distillery with some maintenance going on. In fact we were the only visitors and got ourselves a private tour that was a bit dull because of said maintenance. A nice detail are the Nosing Tins with some of the main Cardhu Aromas and Flavours that help you prepare for the Tasting. At the end of the tour we tasted three little drams, amongst them the 12 Years and the NAS Special Cask Reserve. 

Jan van den Ende                                                             August 29, 2014

Cardhu Distillery! Hope to see it someday in the Sunshine!