Showing posts with label Scotch Single Grain Whisky Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotch Single Grain Whisky Review. Show all posts

Port Dundas 1992 (Douglas Laing) Review

“It’s Graining Again”

Whisky Review # 712

Country: Scotland
Brand: Port Dundas 1992 
Bottled: 2013 - Hunter Hamilton, Glasgow (The Clan Denny) - Cask HH 9452
Type: Single Grain Single Cask Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55.7% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Refill Hogshead    
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 200-230 (April 2018) 
Buying Advice: 😕 It's not bad I guess but it's not my kind of thing.  


Light Golden (Natural Colour)


The Alcohol is quite strong so you need to find your way around that. This Grain Whisky also needs a lot of time in the glass before Nosing. The Port Dundas is Sweet, Fresh, Clean, Yeasty and Earthy on the Nose and it resembles Bourbon. The Nosing of a Grain Whisky takes longer than a Malt Whisky as the Spirit only slowly and (sometimes) hesitantly releases its Aromas.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Saw Dust, Artificially Flavoured Candy (Banana, Pear, Cherry, Pineapple), Dusty Track, Straw and Paint Thinner.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Citrus, Charred Oak, Coconut, Menthol, Ginger and Cocoa Powder.   

Image result for port dundas 199221 Years cask 9452


The arrival is slightly Thinner than I would expect given the high ABV. On the palate, this Port Dundas is Bitter-Sweet, a little Salty and quite Dry. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Paint Thinner, Salted Caramel, Vanilla (Bourbon), Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Caffe Latte, Artificially Flavoured Candies and Cocoa Powder.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Creamy Toffee, Ginger, Honey and Young Dutch Cheese.       


Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and a little Hot. A few Salty notes as well right at the end. I find Artificially Flavoured Candies (Pear, Banana), Paint Thinner, Cocoa Powder, Caffe Latte, Vanilla (Bourbon), Salted Caramel, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Toasted Cereals.  

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and on the Nose this Port Dundas relaxes and becomes more Fruity. Additional Dairy as well. The strong Pain Thinner retreats and that's a good thing. Palate and Finish do not change significantly but become a little more Friendly as well. My advise is to add a few drops.

Rating: 84 

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

Drinking Experience:

Good and Interesting but not quite my style.  


There's nothing really wrong with this mature Grain Whisky other than that it is what it is. And you must like this different Aroma/Flavour profile to really enjoy this Port Dundas. Mature Grain Whisky is not comparable to the young Alcohol that is used for Blends. It's quite clear that this Port Dundas interacted well with the cask. Still it's a very direct Spirit and it misses the fine nuances that a well matured Malt whisky brings to the table. Personally I would not spend over 200 US Dollars for this type of Whisky but if you're into Grain Whisky this P. Dundas might just be your kind of thing.  

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 5, 2018

Girvan 1989 (Berry Bros & Rudd) Review

“Grainy Days and Mondays” 

Country: Scotland 
Region: Lowlands 
Brand: Girvan 1989  
Selected and Bottled By/For: Berry Bros & Rudd, London
Type: Single Grain Whisky
Age: 24 Years
ABV: 46% 

Colour: Light Golden (Natural Colour) 

Nose: The first impressions are Varnish, Sugared Breakfast Cereals and Alcohol. Not unusual for Grain Whisky. Be sure to give the Girvan sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. After a while some Fruity notes come through like Pear, Apple, Banana Ice Cream, Nectarine and Citrus. I also find Chocolate-Flavoured Milk, Vanilla, Milky Way bars, Corn Syrup, Buttered Toast, Bourbon, Charred Oak, Grass and Herbs. It's not bad but the Alcohol is quite dominant. There is a faint Plastic/Rubber off-note but it's not really bothering me.

Palate: Adequate Delivery. Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sour. The Alcohol is very present. I find Sugared Cereals, Toffee, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Milk Chocolate, Apple, Pineapple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Varnish, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger Powder, Cinnamon, light Licorice, Menthol, Dried Herbs, Rum and hints of Aniseed and Espresso.    

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Sour and Bitter-Sweet with Breakfast Cereals, Oak, Dried Herbs, Lemon, Grapefruit, Menthol, Varnish, Ginger, Pepper, Nutmeg and hints of White Chocolate and Espresso. The Alcohol remains very present until the very end.

I added a bit of Water and you get rid of most of the Varnish on the Nose. It becomes quite Creamy and Buttery. Lots of Cereals as well. Palate and Finish become quite Smooth and Creamy/Buttery but the Flavours get flat. Still, you can certainly experiment with a little Water  

Rating: 80.5 

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

General Remarks: The Girvan Distillery was founded in Girvan (South Ayrshire) in 1963. It is owned by William Grant & Sons. Most of the production is used in the William Grant Blends. The Grain Whisky is produced with 90% Wheat and 10% Malted Barley. The distillery has 6 Column stills with a total annual output of around 75 million litres. The Vintage Girvan I'm tasting today was distilled in 
1989 and bottled in 2013 by Indie Bottler Berry Bros. & Rudd. It matured in 2 Ex-Bourbon Casks (# 37534/535). This Girvan is not Chill-Filtered. It is still available in some places at a price of around 110 US Dollars (November 2015).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. The Alcohol is way too dominant.  

Conclusion: It's generally accepted that 65 to 70% of the Flavours of any Malt Whisky are formed by the contact of the Spirit with the Cask during maturation. I would guess that this percentage is even higher for Grain Whisky. That's probably why many Single Grain Whiskies go the market with over 20 Years of Cask time. The Girvan I'm tasting today matured for 24 long years and still I feel it wasn't quite enough as the Whisky is dominated by the Alcohol. On the Nose you can carefully wind your way around the Alcohol but on the Palate and in the Finish this is not possible and you get the full blast of it. I have nosed and tasted three Single Grain Whiskies so far and I have to admit they are not quite my thing. But that won't stop me from trying a few others of course! Everything for science!       

Jan van den Ende                                                               November 9 , 2015

Dumbarton 1986 Review

“King of Grain”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Lowland
Brand: Dumbarton 1986 (Scott's Selection) 
Type: Single Grain Whisky
Age: 25 Years
ABV: 51.5 %

Colour: Golden Yellow

Nose: Similar to Bourbon but less Sweet. I find Grains, Corn Meal, Charred Oak, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Fresh Nectarines, Orange, Nuts, Espresso Coffee, light Honey, Heather, Toffee, Nutmeg, Apple Pie stuffed with Raisins and traces of Furniture Wax and Glue. The Alcohol is strong and not fully integrated. 

Palate: Sweet Grains are at War with the Sharp Alcohol. Amongst the debris I find Stone Fruit (Apricot, Nectarine, Pear), Orange, Vanilla, Toffee, Oak, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Licorice and Ginger. 

Finish: Middle-Long, slightly Edgy and Bitter-Sweet with Nectarine, Orange, Honey, Pear, Nutella, Lemon-Pepper, Charred Oak, light Licorice and some Cinnamon. After a while the Furniture Wax from the Nose reappears.

I added a bit of Water and you will find more Corn, Apricot and Toffee on the Nose. The Alcohol retreats and that's a good thing in this case. On the Palate and in the Finish Spices, Herbs and Licorice start to dominate. In the Finish I detect a slightly Sour Vinegar tone. I recommend to add a few drops when Nosing. But better sip it neat.

Rating: 84 

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

Dumbarton "The Way It Used To Be"

General Remarks: The Dumbarton Grain Distillery a.k.a. Inverleven was founded in 1938 by the Canadian Distiller Hiram Walker. It is located in Dumbarton on the Clyde Coast. When Pernod Ricard took over Allied Domecq they also became the owners of Dumbarton. Unfortunately it was closed in 2002, mainly because the production facility was very old and difficult to modify. Instead, production was transferred to Strathclyde where large investments were made. Dumbarton was known for using Corn instead of Wheat. Dumbarton/Inverleven was demolished in 2005.

The Scott's Selection is a collection of Single Malts handpicked by Robert Scott, the former Master Blender at Speyside Distillers in Glasgow. All Single Malts and Grains in this collection are bottled at Cask Strength, are naturally coloured and not Chill-Filtered. The Dumbarton I am tasting today was distilled in 1986 and bottled in 2011. It matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead and costs around 110 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This was the first time I tasted a Scottish Single Grain Whisky and I think I was lucky with this 25 Year old Dumbarton! When the Distillery was still active, almost all of the production went into the Chivas Regal Blends. There were no official Distillery Bottlings and only a few Indies popped up from time to time. So I was really looking forward to Nose and Taste this Single Grain. In fact I was pleasantly surprised with the quality. If you would mix this mature Dumbarton with Good Malt Whisky you could create a wonderful Blend. But that's Daydreaming of course. Unfortunately I only had a sample so I couldn't test this idea. The Nose is the best part of this Dumbarton. You will find quite some similarities to Bourbon but it also adds some Aromas of its own. The Fresh Nectarine Note stands out. On the Palate there's a lot more Oak influence and the Alcohol is rather strong. Still, if all Grain Alcohol would smell and taste anywhere near this Dumbarton 25, I wouldn't complain so much about Blended Whiskies!

Jan van den Ende                                                         September 3, 2014