Showing posts with label Birds Label. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Birds Label. Show all posts

Fettercairn 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review


“ Jailbreak”


Whisky Review # 884

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Fettercairn 1988 (Birds Label)
Bottled By/For: Antique Lion's of Spirits in 2016 - 292 Bottles
Type: Single Malt (Single Cask) Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.6% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 310-340 (July 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: ­čśöIt's quite interesting but it's a lot of money. A sample will do!
Buying Advice: ­čĹŹIt's got character and it's different. Unusual in 2020!

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Color)

Nose:

Make sure to give this Fettercairn some time in the glass before Nosing to get rid of the initial strong waft of Varnish. Once gone the Nose makes a balanced but quite straight-forward impression. It's Medium-Sweet, Buttery & Fruity but also provides Dairy, Grassy and Floral notes. Quite pleasant with well-integrated Alcohol.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Apricot-Flavored Yogurt, Citrus Peel (Orange, Mandarin, Lemon), Pineapple, Forest Floor after Rain, Grass & Straw, Milk Chocolate and Polished Leather Upholstery.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Heather-Honey, Bread, Yeast, Wax, Toffee, Nectarine, Green Apple, Pear, Marzipan, Caffe Latte, Salty Bacon, Wet Paper, Slivovitz, Cigar Ashes, Banana Ice-Cream and Cinnamon.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Fruity and Herbal. A few Sour and Dairy Notes as well. Wood and its Spices are more noticeable now and so is the Alcohol. It's got quite some character of its own, something you hardly find in modern whiskies anymore. This is far from Mainstream Malt and also quite different from the mediocre Fettercairn introduction Malts.


Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Citrus Peel (Orange, Mandarin, Lemon), Green Apple, Marzipan, Apricot-Flavored Yogurt, Green Apples, Pineapples, Milk Chocolate, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Buttered Toast, Wax, Golden Syrup, Slightly Sour Berries, Slivovitz, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Banana Ice-Cream, Damp Wine Cellar, Caffe-Latte, Nutmeg, Mint and Leather.



Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Dry. The Bitterness increases towards the end. The Cask speaks louder here along with its Spices. The Alcohol is also more noticeable at this point. It's quite different from your average Single Malt vintage 2020 and that's a big plus. You could argue though that it overstayed its time in the cask with a few years. I find Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Pineapple, Banana-Flavored Ice-Cream, Milky Way Candy Bars, Salted Caramel, Honey, Wax, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Marzipan, Dusty Oak, Citrus Peel, Green Apple, Plum Jam, Leather, Yogurt, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves and Mint.

Drinking Advice:

This Fettercairn does not improve with added Water.

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Fettercairn Distillery was founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay and is located in Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire in the Eastern Highlands. It changed hands many times in the past but mainly belonged to Whyte & MacKay that was bought by Emperador Inc. in 2015. The two pairs of stills produce around 1,5 million litres of Alcohol per year. The core range exists of the 12, 28, 40 and 50 Years.

The new core range was launched in 2018 to put Fettercairn back on the Single malt map. As known, this Malt is mainly used for the Whyte & MacKay blends. We visited Fettercairn in May 2019 and it's well-worth the effort of getting there. Wonderful small, picturesque distillery. The visitor accommodations are still rather primitive but the Tour is quite nice.

Antique Lion's of Spirits is a recent collaboration between Lion's Whisky, Whisky Boutique (Italy) and Jens Drewitz from German Indie Bottler Sansibar.

I really enjoyed tasting this Fettercairn although I felt it somehow didn't give me its full potential. Personally I would have bottled it a few years earlier in order to get a better balance between cask and spirit. The Cask did give the spirit character and a mind of its own and that's great & a rare thing these days. But I got the impression that the spirit got slightly "mad" and unbalanced in its wooden prison. Well, maybe that's just me. In any case this Fettercairn is really nice to sort out and try to find its soul. It can't be cheap of course but it's well worth the ride.

Jan van den Ende                                                                            July 20,2020

Tormore 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review



“Perfect Imperfection (All of Me)”

Whisky Review # 869

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tormore 1988 - Birds Label - Distilled in 1988 - 254 Bottles
Bottled By: Antique Lion's of Spirits (Italy) in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.4% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Cask - Cask # Unknown
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 315 (April 2020
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay considering its age and quality
Buying Advice: ­čĹŹInteresting "Old Style" Speyside Malt with character

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It's always nice to smell and taste an older Whisky. Despite its age, the Nose of this Tormore is Fresh, Clean, Fruity (Tropical Fruits and Citrus) and Grassy. It's mainly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is nicely integrated and there's not a whole lot of Wood influence suggesting a less active cask. I wouldn't call it special and complex but it's quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Butter, Ripe Orchard Fruit (Apple, Pear, Nectarine), Lemon and Orange, Pineapple, Grass and Hay, Floral Soap/Perfume, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Grapefruit, Mango, Charred Oak, Leather, Fruit Candy, Dried Fruit, Pepper and Mint.


Palate:

The Oak makes itself noticeable and shows the age of the Malt. It brings a little Bitterness and Wood Spices that help offset the otherwise mainly Sweet Palate. A few Sour notes can be found as well. It's not a perfect Single Malt but it offers much more character than most of today's Modern Mainstream Barley Juice.

Main Flavours:

Thick Sweet Barley, Ripe Apple and Pear, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grass & Hay, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal-Tea, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Buttered Cake, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricot, Floral Soap, Pepper, Aniseed and Ginger.   

Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. The Oak is much more noticeable at this point and brings quite some Bitterness and Menthol to the party. I find Malted/Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sugared Almonds, Pineapple, Mango, Sour Apple, Lemon, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Marzipan, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not significantly change the Aroma and Flavour profile but you can certainly play with a little Water in this case.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Tormore is a relatively new distillery and was founded in 1958 by Schenley Int. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) acquired the distillery in 2005 when it took over Allied Domecq. It is located in Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire). The distillery has a production capacity of 4.8 million litres. Most of it is used in Blends like Ballentine's, Long John, Cream of the Barley and others. The core range merely consists of the 14 and 16 Years.

Antique Lion's of Spirits is a recent collaboration between Lion's Whisky, Whisky Boutique (Italy) and Jens Drewitz from German Indie Bottler Sansibar.

This 28-old Tormore is not a perfect Whisky and I personally think it overstayed its time in the cask somewhat. The Nose fools you in this respect but on the Palate and in the Finish the Wood & Wood Spice speak loudly. It's also a pretty forward Bourbon cask matured Speyside Malt. But it's got character and that counts a lot in my opinion. That alone sets it aside from todays Mainstream Malt. I can't say that older Whiskies are better than recent ones as I have tasted relatively few of the old guys. But they all have more character and are presented as they were made without adding Artificial Colouring, without being Chill-Filtered and without using fancy casks to hide imperfections. This is Whisky as it's supposed to be. Imperfect but flavourful and with its own character. I'll toast to that!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 20, 2020