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

Auchentoshan Valinch Review

“Power to the People”

Whisky Review # 620

Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands
Brand: Auchentoshan Valinch (2011 Limited Release)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.5%
Maturation: American Bourbon Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 55 Average (June 2017) 
Buying Advice: 😐  Neutral. Price/Quality ratio is okay. ABV too high for this young Spirit in my opinion.

Colour: Light Gold (Natural Colour)

Crisp and Clean but with a Young feel to it. The Alcohol is quite present so you need to find your way around it. On the Nose, the Valinch is mostly Sweet with Fruit, Oak, and Herbs. A few Floral, Mineral and some slightly Sour notes as well. I find impressions of Malted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, lightly Burnt Toast, Grass, Straw, Apple, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Lemon, Grapes, Raspberry, Banana, Salted Almonds, Coconut, Butter, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, light Menthol and hints of Papaya Cream and Floral Soap.  

Visit May 2017

Young, Bitter Sweet, Fruity and Spicy. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. I find Malted Barley, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Apple, White Grapes, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Banana Ice Cream, Nectarine, Raspberry, Lemon, Salted Almonds, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, light Menthol, Charred Oak and some Mineral notes. A bit of Melon after a while as well as a light Metallic note.      

Middle-Long, Young, Bitter-Sweet and Spicy. The Alcohol is quite strong and reminds me of a Young Grappa from time to time. I find Malted Barley, Vanilla, Grass, Straw, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Grapefruit, Raspberry, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Oak, Almonds and a light Metallic note. Quite Dry after a while. 

Visit May 2017

Drinking Advice

I added 3 drops of Water and that does take away some of the Heat, especially on the palate. The Vanilla and Fruit develop a bit better this way. You will get some additional Floral tones as well. The Valinch accepts 3-4 drops of Water. Be careful though as too much Water will completely kill the Valinch.

Rating: 82.5 

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Auchentoshan distillery was founded in 1823 by John Bulloch and is located in Dalmuir/Clydebank, close to Glasgow alongside the A 82. It's in the hands of Morrison Bowmore (Suntory) since 1984. The new visitor centre was opened in 2004. The Core range consists of the NAS American Oak, the NAS Threewoods and the 12, 18 and 21 Years (June 2017).

The Valinch was launched in 2011 as a Limited Release at the request of many Auchentoshan fans. The idea was to create a Non Chill-Filtered, Cask Strength version of the popular Auchentoshan Classic. The Valinch is the name of the large metal (copper) pipette that is used to draw Whisky straight from the cask. 

The three Stills - Visit May 2017

🍷  The Spirit:
Auchentoshan is the only remaining Scottish distillery that still practises a full triple distillation for all its Whisky. There are of course three stills, One Wash -, One Intermediate - and one Spirit Still. Triple distillation guarantees a Delicate, Light, Floral and Fruity Spirit. The Water for the Whisky is sourced from Loch Katrine.

🌲  The Wood:
The Valinch matured in First Fill Ex-Bourbon casks made of American Oak.

Visit May 2017

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. The Alcohol is quite strong though. 

Conclusion:Give More Power to the People. Good initiative by Auchentoshan to give their fans a fortified version of the Classic. However, a good Single Malt is not just about a high ABV. A high ABV usually benefits a well-matured Spirit. In this case however, the ABV is too high for the Young, Delicate, Triple-Distilled Auchentoshan Spirit in my opinion. The Alcohol is way too dominant. I believe that 46% would have been the limit in this case. As it stands, the Valinch reminds me a bit of a Young, Rough Grappa. A little Water does take away some of the heat but it does not resolve the intrinsic imbalance of this Lowland Single Malt. The Price/Quality ratio is okay if you're a big Auchentoshan fan but personally I wouldn't order a bottle of the Valinch. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                      June 26, 2017

Visit May 2017

Dalmore Cromartie Review

“Highland Blues”

Whisky Review # 617

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Dalmore Cromartie (1996) - Bottling Series: Lands of Clan MacKenzie
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: Bourbon and Sherry Casks 
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 150-200 (June 2017)
Buying Advice: 😡 Negative. Way too expensive. Stick with the 15! 

Colour: Amber/Copper (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Sweet and a bit Heavy. It reminds me of a Floral Perfume. The Sherry cask influence is quite clear. I find Dried Fruits like Raisins, Apricots, Sultanas and Figs. Unfortunately I detect a fair amount of Sulphur as well together with a few slightly Sour Red Wine notes. They tend to diminish over time in the glass. The Alcohol is quite present as well I'm afraid. Other familiar Aromas include Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Toffee, Caramel, Polished Leather, Grass, Orange, Grapefruit, Canned Pineapple and hints of Tobacco, Chocolate, Wet Stones, Oak, Espresso, Ginger and Menthol. It's not bad but I was expecting much more at this price level.

Visit Dalmore May 2017

Palate: Sweet and Heavy, almost a bit tired. I find the Dried Fruit from the Nose together with some Malt, Toffee, Caramel, Treacle, Black Currant Jam, Vanilla, Red Wine, Orange, Grapefruit, Chocolate, Oak, Tea, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Aniseed, Menthol, Dark Honey, Polished Leather, Espresso, Licorice and the faintest hint of Smoke. The Alcohol is still there!      

Finish: Middle-Long. Sweet at first but quite Dry, Woody and Mineral towards the end. A few slightly Sour and Bitter notes pop up as well. I find Malted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Treacle, Dark Chocolate, Orange, Grapefruit, Red Wine, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed, Menthol, Dried Herbs, Tobacco and a sprinkle of Salt. The Alcohol remains present until the end.

Visit Dalmore May 2017

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and on the Nose the Floral - and Orange notes become even clearer. Almost like Orange-Oil. The Alcohol withdraws. Palate and Finish do not significantly change although the Orange becomes almost a bit too dominant. Still, the Cromartie gladly accepts a little Water.  

Rating: 84    

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky

The Dalmore Distillery was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson. It is located in Alness on the banks of the Cromarty Firth. It is operated by Whyte & Mackay Ltd, owned by Emperador Inc. since 2014. The Dalmore Cromartie was launched in 2012 and is the third in a series of 3 Limited Editions crafted by Master Distiller Richard Paterson to honour the Clan MacKenzie, the owners of the Dalmore Distillery for over a century. The Dalmore McKenzie was the first, released in 2010, followed by Castle Leod in 2011. Together they seek to celebrate the ancient lands of Cromartie, the heartland of the McKenzie clan and home to Castle Leod, the clan's historic seat where they still reside today. A substantial contribution from the sales of these three Expressions will be used to maintain the clan's estates in Cromartie. Only 7500 bottles of the Cromartie went to the market.

🍷  The Spirit

Dalmore is equipped with four pairs of Stills of various size and form with high Reflux characteristics. Together these stills produce a slightly heavy and more complex Whisky. The Water is sourced from the river Alness.

🌲 The Wood

The Cromartie initially rested in American White Oak Bourbon casks before being further matured for a couple of years in Oloroso casks from Sherry Producer Gonzales Byass in Jerez de la Frontera. Richard Paterson decides when the casks are ready for bottling. The Sulphur and Sour Red Wine notes suggest that at least a number of indifferent Sherry casks went in the mix.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: You would expect that extra good casks would be used for these expensive Limited Editions but somehow I get the feeling that's not the case here. The Alcohol, the Sulphur and the Sour notes would suggest that some less excellent casks were used as well. The standard 15 Years is in fact better in my opinion and it's a lot cheaper. It's perhaps a tad less complex but it doesn't show these off-notes and it's simply a more pleasant dram. Do we need to be careful with all Single Malts that bear fancy names these days? It almost looks like it. The Dalmore Cromartie is not a bad Single Malt but it's way too expensive for what it offers. No way I would spend more than 50 US Dollars for this!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      June 12, 2017

Royal Lochnagar 2009 Selected Reserve Review

“Royal Prices”

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Royal Lochnagar 2009 Selected Reserve 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes
Whisky Review # 602
Buying Advice: 😃/😟  Positive as it's a nice Single Malt although it has its flaws. Worried, as it's currently too expensive.

Colour: Light Mahogany (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Sherry Cask influence is clear. There is a little bit of Sulphur around but it doesn't spoil the party. My first impression is a walk in the forest after a rain shower. Damp Leafs, the wet Stones on the path, the wet Moss, Resin and some Mushrooms. After a while we're back to Sherry basics with Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apricots, Toffee, Caramel, Treacle, assorted Nuts, Plum Jam, Sweet Apple, Blueberries, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Toasted Barley, Cinnamon, very light Pepper, Ginger, Oak, light Citrus and a hint of Tobacco. The Malt is certainly mature and the Alcohol is reasonably well integrated. This Royal Lochnagar deserves a slightly higher ABV.

Palate: Slightly Thin delivery on account of the relatively low ABV. On the Palate this Royal Lochnagar is mainly Sweet with some Fruit, Oak and Spices. I find Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Caramel, Blueberry Cupcakes, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apple, light Citrus, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, very light Menthol and Latte. 

Finish: Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour notes as well. Slightly Thin and a bit too short. The Oak and Spices are quite obvious by now. I also find Toasted Barley, light Vanilla, Toffee, Sweet Red Apples, Dried Fruit, Latte, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon, Hazelnut-Chocolate and a hint of Orange Blossom.

I added a little Water and on the Nose you get images of a Latte accompanied by some Apple Pie and Cream. Palate and Finish do not change significantly but you can certainly experiment with a little Water here. 

Rating: 85.5   

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

Picture Credit: henridh

General Remarks:

The original Royal Lochnagar Distillery was built in 1823. It was destroyed by fire twice, respectively in 1824 and 1841. In 1845 it was rebuilt by John Begg. It was Queen Victoria's favourite distillery and received its Royal Warrant in 1848. It is located in Lochnagar, Royal Deeside near Balmoral Castle. The current owners are Diageo. Most of the production goes into Blends like Johnnie Walker Blue and Black and Windsor, the most popular Blend in South Korea that was launched in 1996. The core range consists of the 12 Years and the Selected Reserve.

The Selected Reserve is a limited yearly edition of specially selected casks of different vintages. It is launched to commemorate the very day that Queen Victoria visited the distillery in 1848. All bottles are individually numbered. The 2009 release numbered 2982 bottles. It most likely matured in a mix of Ex-Sherry and Ex-Bourbon Casks. This edition is said to contain Whisky of 18 years or older. It's quite expensive and is usually sold in the 150/200 US Dollar range (March 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: This Royal Lochnagar is a pleasant enough Single Malt but it should have been bottled at a slightly higher ABV. The price would surely justify that. As it is, Palate and Finish are on the Thin side and that's a pity because otherwise this Malt makes a mature and well-balanced impression. A good mix of Sweet and Sour, Fruit, Oak and Spices. I enjoyed the sample and would not mind buying a full bottle. The problem however is the price. It's way too expensive! I would kindly suggest Diageo to at least increase the ABV to 46% and present this Single Malt without added Caramel and without Chill-Filtration. It would result in a better Whisky that would justify its price! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 16, 2017


Dear Whisky Friends,

You may have noticed some problems with the Lay Out. We are trying to solve the issue as soon as possible!



GlenDronach Revival 15 Years Review

“A Mind Of Its Own”

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: GlenDronach Revival
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
ABV: 46% 
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 591
Buying Advice: 😄 Positive. Look forward to taste the 2018 release!

Colour: Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose: Full, Sweet and Mature. The Ex-Oloroso Cask influence is more than clear and the Alcohol is nicely integrated. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Candle Wax, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruits like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricot and Plums, Fresh Herbs like Coriander, Mint and Parsley, Orange Peel, Rum Soaked Fruitcake, Spiced Wine, slightly Sour Apples, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Oak, Maraschino Cherries covered in Milk Chocolate, Marzipan and traces of Smoke, Soy Sauce and/or concentrated Balsamic Vinegar and Dusty Road. I can't find any significant presence of Sulphur. On the Nose it reminds me of the slightly older GlenDronach Allardice I reviewed earlier. The Allardice however is more all-out Christmas Cake and does not have these kinda Dirty, almost Meaty characteristics that the Revival presents.   
Palate: Full, Meaty, Bitter-Sweet, Medium Spicy and slightly Sour. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Dried Fruits like Sultanas, Plums and Dates, Mixed Salted Nuts, Orange Liqueur, Dark Red Fruit like Berries or Cherry, Dirty, Dusty Road, Brown Sugar, Espresso with Milk, Buttered Toast, Pepper, Coriander, Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Licorice, Leather, Tobacco, Dried Herbs, Chocolate and Oak. Perhaps a hint of Sulphur here but it doesn't bother me.  

Finish: Quite Long, Bitter Sweet and slightly Sour. Quite Dry in the end. I find Malted Barley, Bread Dough, Vanilla, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Caffe-Latte, Dark Red Fruit (Berries), Orange, Grapefruit, Chocolate, light Smoke, Leather, Tobacco, Oak, Menthol, Licorice, Aniseed, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Pepper, Salt and Dusty, Dirty Road.

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes more Floral and Meaty. Interesting! Palate and Finish just get watered down. I don't think the Revival accepts Water very well. Better sip it neat.  

Rating: 87

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

General Remarks:

The GlenDronach distillery was founded in 1826 and is located in Forgue in Aberdeenshire in the Eastern Highlands. It was mothballed between 1996 and 2002. It changed hands a couple of times during its history and finally was bought very recently in 2016 by Brown Forman. The current core range includes the Hielan 8 Years, the Original 12 Years, the Allardice 18 Years, the Parliament 21 Years and the Grandeur 25 Years. The Revival 15 Years I'm tasting today is currently out of the range but is likely to return in 2018. The 15 Years Revival was launched in 2009 and matures in Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks. The miniature I'm tasting today was bottled around 2013. Hence, it must contain older whiskies as the distillery was closed between 1996 and 2002. You can still find the 15 Years Revival on the Internet with prices usually in the 100-200 US Dollar range (January 2017). It will be interesting to see if the 2018 re-release of the 15 Years can maintain the quality. Given today's Whisky Market that is questionable. But let's wait and see! 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: Solid and interesting Sherried Highlander. The Nose is quite lovely and you can't help but thinking about Christmas. On the Palate and in the Finish however, the 15 Years Revival shows a Darker, Dirtier and Meatier side. Quite interesting really. Mortlach comes to mind here. I could imagine that beginning Whisky drinkers would prefer the Allardice 18 Years I mentioned earlier as this Single Malt is all about Creamy Christmas Cake. But I think that the advanced Whisky drinker would prefer the 15 Years Revival as it's got personality and a will of its own. Let's hope that the 2018 Revival will maintains these rather peculiar characteristics. We don't really need a younger version of the Allardice do we! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 23, 2017

Fellowship Malt 10 Years Review

“The End Justifies the Means”

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: The Fellowship Malt
Bottled By: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin. 
Bottled For: The Rotary Club of Elgin c/o The Mansion House Hotel, Elgin.
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
ABV: 40% 
Chill-Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 585
Buying Advice: 😔  It's a good cause and the Price/Quality ratio is okay. Don't expect miracles though!

Colour: Light Golden Hay (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Light and Malty. I'm pretty sure the Spirit matured in Refill Ex-Bourbon casks. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. I find Malt Biscuits, Buttered Toast, Toffee, light Vanilla, light Heather-Honey, Grass and Straw, light Refill Wood, Nut Shells, light Dirty Earth, light Orange Peel and hints of Coconut and Milk Chocolate. Some light Floral - and Fruity notes (Apple/Apricot) as well. On the Nose, the Fellowship Malt is not really bad but quite light and slightly boring.

Palate: Light, slightly Watery delivery. Quite Spicy as well which comes as a bit of a surprise after the soft Nose. I find Sugared Cereals, Malted Barley, Toffee, light Vanilla, Caramel, light Heather-Honey, Apple, Pear, light Refill Wood, Alcohol, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon, light Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed and Licorice.

Finish: Short, mostly Sweet and Medium Dry with a slight Alcohol/Pepper bite at the end. I find Malted Cereals, Sugared Nuts, Caramel, Toast, light Heather-Honey, Dirty Earth, Citrus Peel, Pepper, Aniseed, light Ginger, light Cinnamon, Licorice, light Menthol, light Refill Wood and some Cocoa Powder. 

I added a little Water and on the Nose you get a bit more Fruit (Pear, Pineapple) and some Ginger cookies. Palate and Finish become too Thin. Better sip this Malt neat.

Rating: 81

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

General Remarks: Since 2009, the Rotary Club of Elgin, Scotland has been promoting the sale of a 10 Years old Speyside Single Malt. The actual bottling, sales and distribution were outsourced to local Independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail. All commissions went directly to the Rotary Foundation to support an ongoing campaign against polio. In the meantime these commissions have covered the costs of well over 500.000 inoculations against this disease. The official sales prices is around 35 US Dollars although you might find it cheaper sometimes in British supermarkets. (January 2017). To be honest I have no idea where this Mystery Malt was distilled. When tasting, distilleries like Glenlivet, Glen Moray, BenRiach and Cardhu came to my mind. If you have additional info on this, please leave a comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay.
Conclusion: One can only applaud the initiative of the Rotary Club of Elgin. The fight against polio is indeed important. I also understand the need to offer a Malt at a reasonable price to stimulate sales. In today's expensive Whisky world you can't expect a superb Malt at 35 US Dollars. As a result, the Fellowship Malt is a light Speysider that matured in indifferent refill casks. It's not bad and the Price/Quality ratio is okay. But don't expect much depth and substance. But like I said in the heading of this post " The End Justifies the Means". Finally I would like to wish all the readers of Best Shot Whisky Reviews and their families a good and healthy 2017. Let's make the world a better place! Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   January 4, 2017