Showing posts with label 21 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 21 Years. Show all posts

Balvenie 21 PortWood Review


“Speyside’s Port Authority”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: The Balvenie PortWood
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 43% 
Chill Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 614
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Nice Malt for Port lovers. Negative Price Vs. Quality Ratio. 

Colour: Old Gold/Brandy with a touch of Orange (Probably Coloured)

Nose: An interesting combination of Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Fruity, Floral and Oak tones. The Port Pipe Aromas are unmistakably present. At first I get a bit of the Cooked Vegetables Aromas I often find in the Jura Single Malts. They tend to disappear over time so it's very important to give this Portwood sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. After around 15 minutes I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Wax, Honey, Brown Sugar, Bourbon, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Blackcurrants, Red Wine, Polished Leather Upholstery, Dirty Road, Nectarine, Tinned Pineapple- and Peach slices in Syrup, light Citrus, Cinnamon, Clove, light Menthol and Aniseed. Although noticeable, the Alcohol is still reasonably well-integrated. I also find a hint of Smoke from a very distant fire. There are more than sufficient traces of Aromas to be found if you take the time with this Single Malt. The main drivers however are Sweet Fruit, Buttery Cereals and Polished Leather, accompanied by Wood, Spice and slightly Sour Red Wine. It's not bad but it isn't entirely my style. 

Palate: The delivery is a little Thin. On the Palate and in the Finish the age of the Malt becomes clear as Oak and Wood Spice appear at the front. On the Palate, the Portwood is mainly Bitter Sweet but also with a few Sour Notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Apple, Apricot and Plums, Nectarine, Citrus, Dusty Road, Red Wine, Hazelnut, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Cocoa Powder and Tobacco.     

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes as well. Dry in the end with Tannins and Oak. Unsweetened Cappuccino topped with Cinnamon and Cocoa Powder is my first image. After a little while I also find Toasted Cereals, light Honey, Orange-flavoured Dark Chocolate, Brown Sugar, Red Apples, Nuts, Red Wine, Sour Cherries, Nectarine, Pepper, Aniseed, Nutmeg and Tobacco.   

The Balvenie PortWood does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 84.5        

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



General Remarks: 

The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant in Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire. Production started in 1893. It's still in the hands of William Grant & Sons. Today it's one the 10 most sold Single Malts worldwide.

A vintage Portwood was released for the first time in 1996. Today the 21 Years Portwood is part of the core range of the distillery. There are two expressions around at the moment. The standard one I'm tasting today and a Travel Retail expression that is bottled at 47.6% and without Chill-Filtration. The Portwood matures for over 20 Years in Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished for a number of months in 30 Year Old Port Pipes. The Price varies a lot from place to place but is usually in the 150/200 US Dollar range (April 2017). That's quite expensive but a 21 Year old Whisky can't be cheap of course. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: The Balvenie is one of those distilleries that produces whole ranges of pleasant, enjoyable Single Malts that are quite mainstream. It's difficult not to like them. On the other hand they all miss the "WOW" factor in my opinion. And that means that the Price/Quality ratio becomes rather important when you are going to buy a Balvenie Single Malt. I kinda liked this Portwood for example but no way I would spend over 150 US Dollars for this Single Malt. It's not special enough for that kind of money. And the same goes for most of Balvenie's special expressions. That's why I always come back to the 12 Years Double Wood as one of my to-go-to drams. Pleasant Single Malt with an excellent Price/Quality Ratio. If you adore Port Finished Single Malts however and you have the cash, this Portwood is certainly not a bad choice. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 27, 2017


Bruichladdich 1991 (WM Cadenhead) Review


“Licorice Laddy”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich 1991
Bottled By: WM Cadenhead (Authentic Collection) 
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 52.1% 
Chill-Filtration: No 
Whisky Review # 596
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. Good Price/Quality Ratio. Interesting but not exactly my type of Malt. 

Colour: Pale White Wine  (Natural Colour)

Nose: Very Light and Crisp for a Single Malt of this Age. Both the Colour and the Nose suggest a rather inactive cask. I pick up a little Varnish right at the start so it's important to give this Bruichladdich sufficient air contact. The Alcohol is quite strong at first and you need to find your way around it when nosing this Malt. On the Nose, this Malt is Floral, Fruity and Mineral with only the faintest note of Smoke. Quite a bit of Salt though. Other than that I find Malted Cereals, Toast, German Butter Biscuits, Grass, Wet Stone, Lemon, Pear, Vanilla, Nougat, Fresh Mint, Oak and hints of Canned Pineapple and Tobacco. A very Fresh and Medium-Creamy Bruichladdich without too much Depth and Complexity. 

Palate: Bitter-Sweet, Medium-Fruity, Malty and quite Mineral with Sweet Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Apple, Pear, light Honey, Nougat, Lemon, Grapefruit, light Licorice, light Pepper, Salt, Mint, Oak, Herbal Tea and a very faint Smoky note.

Finish: Quite Long and Creamy. Too much Licorice as far as I'm concerned. I also find Malted Cereals, Barley Sugar, Grass, Mineral and Herbal notes, light Menthol, Pepper, Salt, Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Peach and light Nougat. Quite Dry in the end. This is my least favourite part of this Malt.

Due to the fact that I merely had a small sample at my disposal, I only tasted this Bruichladdich neat.

Rating: 84.5

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


General Remarks:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau. Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces three types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich, the heavily peated Port Charlotte and the peat monster Octomore. The Bruichladdich I'm reviewing today was distilled in 1991 and matured for 21 Years in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead before it was bottled at Cask Strength in October 2013 by WM Cadenhead, the oldest Independent Bottler in Scotland that was founded in 1842 by William Cadenhead. Only 276 bottles went to the market and some bottles are still available at prices that are mostly in the US 90/130 range (February 2017). Not that expensive for a quality Single Malt of this age!  

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. A bit too much Licorice in the Finish for my taste!

Conclusion: This is an interesting Bruichladdich. It is similar to the 22 Years I reviewed earlier but it's not quite as good due to some details that might have been caused partly by the indifferent cask. In my opinion, this Cadenhead expression is not as complex, less Fruity and less Well-Balanced. The Licorice in the Finish is a bit too much for me. It's just not my kind of Whisky. Having said that I found the Nosing and Tasting experience quite interesting as I kept discovering new Aromas and Flavours all the time. They might not form a very coherent combo but they are there nevertheless. To sum it up, I liked the Tasting Experience but I wouldn't buy a full bottle. If you like the Aroma- and Flavour profile I have described however you could give it a try as it's reasonably priced for a 21 year old.

Jan van den Ende                                                               February 21, 2017

Glen Moray 1991 Master of Malt Review


Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Moray 1991 (Master of Malt)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 60.7%

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: Given the Age and the ABV it is obvious that Oak and Alcohol are quite present. The Spirit is also Creamy and Malty. I find Floral Tones, Orchard Fruit, Nectarine, Tangerine, Grapefruit Juice, Butter, Barley Sugar, Raisins, Custard, Toffee, Wood Spice, Bourbon, Wax and hints of Menthol, Apple Vinegar and Varnish. 

The Malt Bins at Glen Moray

Taste: Fiery and Mouthwatering as was to be expected with Oak, Nuts, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cardamom, Citrus, Pear, Peanut Butter, Stewed Apples, Malt, Toffee, Butter and Menthol.  

The Mash Tun at Glen Moray

Finish: Solid Finish with Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Walnuts, Malt, Menthol, Lemon and Poached Pears. Quite Dry in the end.

Wash Back #4 at Glen Moray

I added a bit of Water and that tames the Alcohol of course. Dried Apricot, Malt and Butter now dominate the Nose. The Floral Tones are enhanced as well. The 
Palate and Finish do not change a lot but it's just easier to drink the Spirit this way. Still, this Glen Moray shows its real character only when you drink it neat.

Rating: 85.5  

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 – Finish: 21 – Overall: 21.5 

These Casks Had Just Been Delivered

General Remarks: The Glen Moray 1991 Master of Malt was distilled on the 2nd of July 1991 and matured in a Refill Hogshead with Cask # 5661. A total of 260 bottles were filled in April 2013. This Single Malt was bottled at Cask Strength, is Uncoloured and Non Chill-Filtered. It is priced at around 130 US Dollars.

Some of the Stills at Glen Moray

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: Let me start by saying that the Glen Moray 1991 is a good Single Malt. As it should be at this price level although it's not too expensive when you consider its age. I like the Nose neat although you have to wind your way through the waves of strong Alcohol. But I must also say that I had expected more complexity and diversity after 21 long years in the Cask. Given the high ABV I would assume that most people would want to add a little Water. But once you do that, there's not too much to discover any more. Apricot, Malt and Butter on the Nose and Oak, Spices, Citrus and Menthol on the Palate and in the Finish. Not all that much for a 21 old Single Malt that will set you back around 130 US Dollars. So while I enjoyed Nosing and Tasting the sample, I would not consider buying a full bottle of this Glen Moray.

Another Pair of Stills

Some Data: The name Glen Moray means "The Glen of the Sea Settlement".  It's located at Bruceland Road in Elgin (Morayshire). The Distillery that was founded in 1897 is currently expanding and at the end of this year will possess 1 Mash Tun, 21 stainless Steel Wash Backs and 6 pairs of Stills. With all this equipment Glen Moray will be able to produce 6,5 million litres annually. Since 2008 the distillery belongs to the French Group La Martiniquaise. No wonder that France is currently one of Glen Moray's main markets. In the past, Glen Moray spirit was mainly used in Blends like Label 5 but under the new owners efforts are made to present Glen Moray as a Single Malt as well. The new visitor centre,  gift shop, coffee shop and tasting area were opened in 2004.

We visited Glen Moray in May 2014

The water for the distillery is sourced from a well by the River Lossie. Glen Moray is open to the public All Year except with Christmas and New Year. The opening hours are from Monday to Friday (9.00 to 17.00) and from May to September also on Saturdays from 10.00 to 16.30. The Standard Tour costs 3 Pounds. An in-depth Connoisseurs Tour called "Fifth Chapter" costs 15 pounds. Pre-Booking for the latter is necessary.

Some Promising Casks in the Warehouse

We visited Glen Moray on Wednesday, May 21 2014. The weather that day was cloudy with the occasional rain. We did the Standard Tour and really enjoyed it. Our guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable. After the tour we enjoyed a very cheerful Tasting Session where we sampled the 8, 12 and 16 Years as well as a young peated expression. A tasteful Soup of the Day in the coffee shop closed up our pleasant visit to Glen Moray. I can certainly recommend a visit to this distillery. 

We Tasted Several Expressions After The Tour

And Had a Nice Soup of the Day in the Distillery Shop


Jan van den Ende                                                           January 13, 2015

Allt-A-Bhainne 1991 Signatory Review



“A Question of Balance”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Allt-A-Bhainne 1991 (Signatory Vintage) - Cask Strength Selection
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
ABV: 55 % 

Colour: Light Gold

Nose: Sweet Ripe Fruit like Mango and Pineapple. But also the specific Dutch treat "Beschuit Met Muisjes" (See Picture Below). It's a sort of Crispy Biscuit with Aniseed Topping. It's mainly served to celebrate the birth of a Son (Blue and White) or Daughter (Pink and White). Some Honey and Vanilla as well. The Alcohol is not totally integrated and stings a bit so be sure to give this Malt time to open up. With time, the Pineapple gets stronger and stronger and is now accompanied by Banana Ice Cream, Bread Dough and Orange. I'm not quite convinced by the Quality of the Cask. In all those long 21 years, it did not add a lot to the Aroma of the Spirit. Bitter Almonds mostly. This Bitterness and the Alcohol spoil some of the Nosing fun I'm afraid. A pity really! 

Beschuit Met Muisjes

Palate: Less Sweet than I expected after the Nose. Quite Punchy and Herbal actually. I find Orange Juice, Lemon, Herbal Tea, Vanilla, Banana, Mango, Oak, Caramel/Toffee, Honey, Pepper and Cinnamon. A hint of Tobacco as well.

Finish: Long, Sweet, Sour, Spicy and, unfortunately, quite Bitter towards the end with Malt, Orange (Juice), Toffee, Banana, Lemon, Honey, Heather, Grass, Oak and Herbal Tea.

With a bit of Water the Alcohol retreats of course and that's a good thing. On the Palate and in the Finish, Spices and Herbs starts to dominate. My advise is to Nose and Taste this Allt-A-Bhainne both Neat and with a bit of Water.

Rating: 84

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

The Allt-A-Bhainne Distillery!

General Remarks: This Allt-A-Bhainne was distilled on the 9th of July 1991 and was bottled on the 6th of October 2012. It matured in a Ex-Bourbon Hogshead (#90114). All Casks for the Cask Strength Selection Series are individually selected and bottled by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co.Ltd, from Pitlochry, Scotland. This particular Allt-A-Bhainne costs around 100 US Dollars. This recent distillery was founded in 1975 by Chivas Brothers, bought by Pernod Ricard in 2001. Most of the spirit goes into Blends, some is bottled as Single Malt under the name Deerstalker and some casks are bought by Independent bottlers.

Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co.Ltd. is an independent bottler, founded in 1988 by Andrew - and Brian Symington. In 2002 they bought the Edradour Distillery.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Spirit of Allt-A-Bhainne is Nervous but Fruity and Pleasant. But in my opinion it needs First Class Wood to interact. And I don't think that's the case here. I believe this was a Refill Cask and it did not gave enough Aromas and Flavours to the Spirit. On the contrary, it added a certain Bitterness I could easily live without. The Allt-A-Bhainne 1991 is not a bad Single Malt but it does not deliver sufficiently to justify its price. I did like the Spirit however and I will try to find other Indie expressions.   

Jan van den Ende                                                            August 26, 2014