Showing posts with label 15 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 15 Years. Show all posts

Chivas Regal XV 15 Years Review

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

Whisky Review # 805

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal XV
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Selectively finished in Grand Champagne Cognac Casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😒Okay on the Rocks but so are many blends. P/Q ratio: 👎  


Light Amber (Artificially Coloured)


Sweet and a little bit on the Thin side. I would imagine that Ex-Bourbon casks and some Sherry Wood were used for maturation. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable so I think that around 30% of this Spirit is Malt Whisky. I don't know exactly which Single Malts were used but Strathisla and Longmorn are possible candidates. The main drivers are Butterscotch, (Dried) Fruit and Citrus Peel.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grain, Buttered Toast, Butterscotch, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Artificially Flavoured Candies, Orange, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Dough, Straw, Dusty Refill Oak, Grain Alcohol and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Heather-Honey, Nutshells, Milk Chocolate & mere hints of Cognac, Peanuts, Peach Jam and Leather.

Cognac Casks


Sugary Sweet and a little Thin. The ABV is too low for a 15 Year old Whisky. A few Bitter and Sour elements as well. The Grain Alcohol remains very present & the Cognac Finish is hardly noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Butterscotch, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricot and Plums, Stewed Apples and Pears, Citrus Peel, Dusty Refill Oak, Grapefruit Juice, Pepper and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Honey, Cloves, Ginger, Herbal Tea and a hint of Milk Chocolate.


Middle-Long, a little Thin and Medium-Dry. Sugary Sweet at first but with some Bitterness towards the end. Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Toasted Grain, Red Apples, Pears, Lemons, Raisins, Plums, Dusty Refill Oak, Hazelnut, Pepper, Cloves, Menthol and Ginger are the main impressions.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose the Grain Alcohol retreats and the Fruit develops. Palate and Finish practically disappear. I certainly recommend to Nose this Chivas Regal with - and without Water. It's not very interesting as a sipping Whisky but it works well over ice.

Rating: 82

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good


The Chivas XV was launched in 2018, initially only for the Travel Retail Market. In the meantime it's available elsewhere as well. Some of the whiskies for this Blend were finished in Grand Champagne Cognac casks. The name XV refers both to the minimum age of the whiskies used and the traditional classification of the Cognac spirit.

I applaud the use of Cognac casks as they will certainly enhance the Fruity side of any Spirit. In the case of the Chivas Regal XV I suspect that only a part of the Malt content was finished in Cognac casks and probably not longer than a few months. As a result the influence, while noticeable, is rather limited. Still, these casks will certainly gain market share in the future in my opinion. The Chivas Regal XV is not a bad blend but it suffers from the low ABV. It's simply too Thin and too plain to consider as a sipping Malt. It's quite nice on the Rocks but a little too expensive that way. It's like being Between a Rock and a Hard Place!


Jan van den Ende                                                                  March 14, 2019

Strathisla The Heart of Chivas Regal

Edradour The Fairy Flag Review

“Sherry Christmas” 

Whisky Review # 671

Country: Scotland
Region: Southern Highlands
Brand: Edradour The Fairy Flag am Bratach Sith
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Bourbon casks with Sherry Finish   
Chill Filtration: No     
Price Range: On average US$ 95 (December 2017). 
Buying Advice: 😔 At this price level go for Glendronach or Aberlour! 

Colour: Mahogany/Brown - Quite Dark (Natural Colour)

Nose: Powerful and Dark Sherry Notes including some Sulphur and Rubber that diminish over time. It's essential to give the Fairy Flag enough time in the glass before you start Nosing. Christmas is in the Air with Rum Soaked Raisins, Figs, Sultanas, Apricot, Dates, Mulled Red Wine and Christmas Spices. I also find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Vanilla, Blackberry, Port Wine, Caramel, Lemon Peel, Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Charred Oak and traces of Tea, Polished Leather and Tobacco. It's quite Sweet, a little Heavy and mildly Herbal. The Sherry cask influence is strong. It's not quite my style but it's not bad.   

Palate: Bitter-Sweet with Dusty Wine Cellar, Christmas Cake, Dried Fruits (See Nose), Blackberry, Raspberry, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Orange - and Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Toasted Cereals, Sour Apples, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Oak, Menthol, Sulphur, Tobacco, Polished Leather and Port Wine.

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet, Malty and Nutty. Dry and slightly Bitter and Sour towards the end. The Sherry cask influence remains strong and I find Toasted Cereals, Dried Fruit (See Nose), Caramel, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Perfumed Soap, Herbal Tea, Mint, Pepper, Nutmeg, Charred Oak, Cherry- Flavoured Cough Syrup, Sulphur and Acetone.       

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that works quite well. The Fairy Flag gets less Dirty & Dusty and more Nutty. You should certainly experiment with a few drops here.  

Rating: 83      

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The name Edradour was first mentioned in 1837 but the first Single Malt was  released in 1986. The success story started in 2002 when Andrew Symington bought the distillery from Signatory. Edradour was Scotland's smallest working distillery for many years but today there are more than 10 smaller distilleries. At the moment Edradour produces around 130.000 litres of which around 26.000 are heavily peated. The core range consists of  the 10, the 12 Caledonia, the 14 CS Sherry and the 10 CS Bourbon. We visited the distillery in 2014. The fact that it is located close to Pitlochry means that lots of visitors are in fact tourists who participate in organized trips. The place was crowded and there was a very commercial feel to it that I didn't care for. A pity, because the Distillery itself as well as the surroundings are very picturesque.   

The Fairy Flag 15 Years was released in 2015 to mark the release of a film that carries the same name and was made by Rory Mhor Nicoll and Peter Columbia. It tells the story of an epic romance between the Clan Chief of the MacLeod's and the mysterious Fairy maiden, said to have almost magical qualities. In the meantime the Fairy Flag has been discontinued. I bought a miniature bottle in a Cigar/Whisky shop in Heidelberg, Germany. When I opened the package today I noticed that around 15% of the contents have evaporated.

🍷  The Spirit 

The Edradour distillery operates 1 pair of stills. The Lyne arms point downwards. The spirit is medium-bodied, Sweet, Malty, Nutty and Perfume-like. The water for this Farm Distillery is sourced from springs on Moulin Moor.

🌲  The Wood:

The Fairy Flag matured in Bourbon casks for 8 years before being transferred to fresh Ex-Oloroso Sherry casks where it matured another 7 years.

Drinking Experience: Interesting

ConclusionI must admit that Edradour is not one of my favourite distilleries. I find their expressions a bit "unfinished", rough and dirty. And there are always some off-notes to be found. Having said that, the Fairy Flag is certainly not a bad Single Malt despite its flaws. Because it has some character as well. If you are into Sherry Bombs, this Edradour would serve you well except for the fact that it's more expensive than some of its direct competitors like Glendronach, Glenfarclas and Aberlour. So despite the fact that I have some sympathy for the Fairy Flag I can't really recommend this expression as it's too expensive. That might well be the reason it has been discontinued in the meantime.

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 26, 2017

All Pictures were taken during our Visit in May 2014

Bowmore Darkest Review

“The Dark Side of the Malt”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore Darkest (Bottled Around 2014)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 607
Buying Advice: 😐  Neutral. P/Q Ratio is okay. Too Much Sherry IMHO.

Colour: Very Dark Amber/Mahogany with a hint of Orange. This is indeed one of the darkest coloured whiskies I've ever seen or tasted. There was really no need to add Caramel in my opinion.  

Nose: The Sherry cask influence is obvious and I detect a little Sulphur. Nothing alarming though. Typical Bowmore Aromas like Smoke, Peat, Tar, Perfume, Wet Stone, Brine, Rubber and Iodine are noticeable but in a very subdued manner. They are being pushed back by Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Plums and Dates), Berries, Caramel, Treacle, Vanilla, Toffee, Rum Soaked Fruitcake, Bourbon, Malt, Baked Apples, Light Citrus, Leather, Menthol and hints of Pepper, Cinnamon, Espresso and Bitter Chocolate. After a while I find a very faint BBQ Aroma. On the Nose, the Bowmore Darkest is a combination of a Sherried Speysider and a lightly peated Islay Malt. I'm sure this might confuse a few people. Personally I think that a slightly shorter Oloroso Finish (1,5 - 2 Years) and an ABV of 46% would have made this a better proposition. As it stands, it's okay on the Nose but rather unbalanced. 

Palate: The delivery is a bit on the Thin side. On the Palate as well, the typical Bowmore Aromas only play second fiddle. Light Smoke, light Wet Peat, Tar and Iodine are there but in the background. The main drivers are Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Butterscotch, Dried Fruit like Plums, Sultanas and Apples, Nuts Berries, Leather, Grapefruit Juice and a few Herbs and Spices like Mint, Pepper, Clove and Cinnamon. Hints of Dark Chocolate and Tobacco.   

Finish: Middle-Long, quite Dry and basically Sweet. A light Bitterness pops up towards the end. Some Citric, Sour and Salty notes as well. Without a doubt it's my favourite part of this Single Malt. I find Sweet Barley, light Peat, Smoke, Iodine and Tar, Sulphur, Caramel, Toffee, Espresso, Blackberries (the Fruit), Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Mint, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit, Dark Chocolate, slightly Sour Apples and this distant hint of raw Meat just placed on the BBQ.     

The Bowmore Darkest does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 84.5    

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

General Remarks:

The Bowmore Distillery was founded in 1779 by John Simpson. It's the oldest Islay distillery, located in Bowmore. Since 1994 it is completely owned by Morrison Bowmore Distilleries, part of the Japanese Suntory Group. It's one of the very few Scottish Distilleries with an active Malting Floor that provides around 30% of the Malt used by Bowmore. The 15 Years Darkest is part of Bowmore's core range for the domestic markets alongside the 12 Years, the 18 Years, the 25 Years and the NAS Small Batch Reserve. 

The Bowmore Darkest was launched in 1999, at first as a NAS expression. Later it was upgraded to a 15 Years Single Malt and this change significantly increased its popularity. It matures for 12 years in Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished for 3 years in Ex-Oloroso casks. The average price is around 65 US Dollars (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Bowmore Darkest is a tough one to call. It's certainly not a bad Single Malt and the Price Quality ratio is good. But, and I've said it before, I believe that a Wine Finish of any kind should enhance the original qualities of the Spirit and not overwhelm them. And the latter unfortunately is the case here. It's coming across as a Sherried Speysider with an Islay Finish. A bit weird if you ask me. Therefore, my humble suggestion to Bowmore would be to cut the Ex-Oloroso Finish to something between 1,5 and 2 years, increase the ABV to 46% and get rid of the Caramel colouring. In this way you might probably create an interesting alternative for people that love Lagavulin 16 or peated BenRiach. At times like these I would have loved to have a career in the Whisky world. Back to reality and the Bowmore Darkest. As it stands it's a somewhat underwhelming hybrid between Speyside and Islay with a good Price/Quality ratio. So by all means give it a try when you have the chance!   

Jan van den Ende                                                                        April 3, 2017

Dailuaine 1997 Review

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland - Speyside
Brand: Dailuaine 1997 (Van Wees - The Ultimate Series) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age:  15 Years
ABV: 46 %
Date: 24/04/2014

Colour: Light Golden

Nose: Floral, Earthy, Fruity and Grassy. I find Grasses, Straw, Earth, Dirt, Dried Herbs, Oak, Toast, Citrus, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Sweet Licorice, Peach, Apple, Banana and a hint of Salted Meat. Have no idea where that comes from! The Alcohol is still around and not fully integrated.  

Palate: Eau de Vie (Poire), Grass, Licorice, Earth, Dirt, Dried Herbs, Malt, light Pepper, light Ginger, Citrus, Vanilla and Nut Shells.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with Oak, White Grapes, Almonds, Bitter Orange, Grass, light Pepper, light Cloves and light Licorice.  

I added a bit of Water and Malt and light Honey appear on the Nose. A bit of Marzipan on the Palate. You can certainly play with a bit of Water.

Rating: 83.5

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

General Remarks: The Dailuaine 1997 I'm tasting today was distilled on the 1st of May 1997 and was bottled by Independent Bottler Van Wees on the 11th of January 2013. It matured in Hogshead # 6017, is Uncoloured and Not Chill-Filtered. It is sold at around 55 US Dollars.

The Dailuaine Distillery (Green Valley in Gaelic) was built in 1852 and is part of the Diageo Group since 1998. It has an annual production capacity of around 3.4 million litres of Alcohol. Most of the production is used in the Johnnie Walker Blends. Occasionally, casks are sold to Indie Bottlers like van Wees, located in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: Not the best Dailuaine I've tasted so far. But a fair Price/Quality ratio. I would have liked to see more Fruity tones in this 1997 expression. The way it is, the slightly dusty Bourbon Cask is a bit too dominant on the Palate and in the Finish. I wouldn't say "No" if a dram of this Dailuaine was offered to me but I wouldn't buy a full bottle either. If you like Dusty Eau de Vie (Pear), you might want to give this Dailuaine a try.

Jan van den Ende                                                                  April 2014