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

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: ­čśä 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: ­čśö  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

The Corriemhor Cigar Reserve Review

“Magical Mystery Mhor”

Country: Scotland
Region: Most likely Highlands/Speyside
Brand: The Corriemhor Cigar Reserve
Distillery: Unknown
Released by: Peats Beast Ltd, Hereford, UK (Fox Fitzgerald Whisky Trading) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Said to be Around 8 Years)
ABV: 46 %
Chill Filtration: No 
Whisky Review # 563

Colour: Very Deep Amber 

Nose: Quite Sweet but a little on the Thin side despite the adequate ABV. The Refill Sherry casks make themselves known immediately. I find Toasted Cereals, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Figs and Apricots, Christmas Cake, Orange Peel, Winter Spices, Nuts, Vanilla, light Oak, Earth and hints of Dark Red Fruit, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate with a very high percentage of Cacao and Espresso. Despite the above mentioned Aroma impressions, there's still a bit of an immature feel to this Malt. It could have done with some extra years in the casks. The Alcohol is present but not in a very annoying way. A little Sulphur is noticeable as well. 

Palate: Sweet but with a slight Bitterness that sort of reminds me of English Marmalade. I also find Toasted Barley, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Caramel, Dark Red Fruit, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, light Honey, Sherry, Citrus Peel, Christmas Cake, Pepper, Ginger, Tobacco, Chocolate, Grass and a hint of Armagnac.      

Finish: Quite Long, Sweet and Sour and with a very light Bitterness towards the end. I find Malt, Vanilla, Caramel, Dark Red Fruit, Orange Flavoured Chocolate, Sherry, Butterscotch, Dried Fruit, Almonds, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom and Oak.   

I added a little Water and some additional Floral notes appear on the Nose. The Palate and Finish become too Thin for my taste. Better sip it Neat or on the Rocks. 

Rating: 83   

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

General Remarks: The Corriemhor Cigar Reserve was created by the well-known blender Richard Paterson. As such it was part of the Whyte & Mackay portfolio for quite some time. Originally, it was a vatted Malt. In 2012 however the brand name was bought by Peats Beast Ltd in the United Kingdom. This company re-released the Cigar Reserve, this time however as a Single Malt, bottled at 46%. The Malt matures in an even mixture of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks. It is usually priced in the 45-60 US Dollar range (September 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Quite Pleasant    

Conclusion: There's nothing really wrong with this Mystery Malt except perhaps for the Nose that is a bit too Thin in my opinion. But other than that it's quite drinkable and likeable. And it should match a strong cigar as well. Judging by the colour, the Ex-Sherry casks have been very active or some Caramel has been added. I would assume the latter but I'm not sure about it. Corriemhor Cigar Reserve has some characteristics of an After Dinner Whisky but it's still a little too Young and Thin to fully convince me in this respect. It's a nice every day dram though although it might be just a little too expensive for that. And now for the 1 million Dollar question! Who distilled this Single Malt? I am pretty sure it's a Speyside Malt and the nice bottle reminds me of Aberlour. I don't think it's an Aberlour but maybe the bottle was inspired by the region. If somebody knows a bit more, please leave a Comment!       

Jan van den Ende                                                                  October 5, 2016

The River Spey

BenRiach Birnie Moss Review

“Peated New Make Spirit”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Highlands - Speyside
Brand: BenRiach Birnie Moss
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Probably 4-5 Years)
ABV: 48% 
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 545

Colour: White Wine (Chardonnay) - Artificially Coloured

Nose: Young and Fruity with a New Make Spirit feel to it. The Earthy Peat and Cold Smoke are there of course but in a mild way. Nevertheless, they are the main Aromas on the Nose. I also find light Tar and Ashes, Dusty Road, light Plastic, light Meat and Fish on the BBQ, Toasted Cereals, Yeast, Grass, Straw, light Floral notes, light Vanilla, Lemon, Peanut Butter, Tobacco, Green Apples, light Pepper and some Herbs. Speyside Peat isn't the same as Islay Peat of course but I do find some Medicinal notes that remind me of the latter. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. Most of the above mentioned Aromas are merely hints by the way. It's all a bit plain and not very exciting. 

Palate: Young and Hot. The ABV is too strong for the Young Spirit in my opinion. I can't help but thinking that the Peat and high Alcohol mainly serve to hide the young Spirit. I find Sweet Peat, Dirty Earth, Cold Smoke, Tar and Ashes, light Vanilla, Toasted Cereals, Salted Meat, slightly Sour Green Apples, Lemon, light Pepper, light Licorice, Charred Oak, light Leather and Black Espresso. I would guess that the Birnie Moss matured for 4 to 5 years in Refill Ex-Bourbon casks.          
Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Edgy and Hot. Quite Dry towards the end. The Alcohol stings a little. I find Dirty Earth, Cold Smoke, Tar, Ashes, Charred Oak, Toasted Cereals, light Vanilla, Pepper, Licorice, Grapefruit Juice, Green Apples, Salted Meat and distant hints of Leather and Black Espresso.  

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose the Peat and Smoke retreat a little and make place for more Vanilla and Floral notes. A bit of Honey pops up as well. Palate and Finish become too Thin for my taste. However, you can cautiously add a few drops to see where it leads you.  

Rating: 81.5 

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

General Remarks: The BenRiach distillery is located in the heart of the Speyside between Elgin and Rothes. It was founded around 1898 by John Duff, the owner of the nearby Longmorn distillery. Today it's one of the few distilleries with its own Malting Floors. Since 2004, it was independently owned by the BenRiach Distillery Company that also owns Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach. In April this year however, the Walker family and their partners sold the BenRiach Distillery Company to the US drinks giant Brown-Forman, the owner of Bourbon brands like Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve. A lot of BenRiach's production goes into the Chivas Regal Blends but more than enough is left for the many Single Malt Expressions. The Birnie Moss was released in 2009 and is named after a rugged moorland close to the distillery. It is peated at 35ppm and costs between 40 and 45 US Dollars (June 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay.  

Conclusion: I am disappointed with this BenRiach. It's too Young and quite Raw so in that respect the name is well-chosen at least. It comes close to being a peated New Make Spirit. The high ABV and the Peat dominate all the rest and perhaps that's the idea behind the Birnie Moss. It's not very expensive of course and the Price/Quality Ratio is not too bad if you like rough young Spirit. For me however this formula does not work very well!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       June 8, 2016

Clynelish 1997 (Casqueteers) Review

“Same Spirit, Different Casks”

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Clynelish 1997 (Cask # 6942 Casqueteers)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 56.1%
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 539
Sample provided by Adri from the Netherlands. Many Thanks!

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sweet and Mature with some pleasant Sour Aromas in the background. The Oak is certainly there but not in a terribly dominant way. I would say this Clynelish was bottled at about the right moment. I find Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Straw, Vanilla, Caramel, Nectarine, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pineapple, light Cinnamon, Mint and traces of Milk Chocolate, Tobacco and Green Apples. The Alcohol is present so be sure to avoid sticking your Nose in the middle of the glass. I usually find the best Aromas, especially the Fruity ones, along the edge of my Copita.     

Palate: Much More Oak and Wood Spice than the Nose suggests. Here the long years in the Cask become quite clear. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Pastry, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Nectarine, Orange, Grapefruit, Banana, Mineral tones, Pepper. Menthol, Nutmeg, Gewurztraminer and some traces of Chocolate and Tobacco. I like the combination of the Sweet and Sour flavours.         

Finish: Middle-Long, Mineral, Fruity, Bitter Sweet and Sour with Malted Barley, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Toffee, Nectarine, Melon, Green Apples, Pear, Grapefruit, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Oak and hints of Tobacco, Chocolate, Banana Ice Cream, Menthol, Minerals and Espresso.   

Picture: Whiskybase

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes very Fruity indeed. A bit of extra Cinnamon as well. I almost always prefer to drink my Single Malts neat but in this case you can certainly play with a little water.

Rating: 86 

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

General Remarks: This Clynelish was distilled on the 14th of July 1997. For 18 long years it matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead with Cask # 6942 before being bottled at Cask Strength on the 16th of July 2015. The final price for the participating Casqueteers is roughly 90 US Dollars (May 2016).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: There are a lot of people who love Clynelish but generally speaking I'm not one of them. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised by this Single Cask. In fact it's my highest score for a Clynelish thus far. It all starts with the Nose that shows a very nice balance between Sweet and Sour Aromas. And there's a lot of Fruit out there as well. On the Palate, the Fruit is still there and I like the balance between Sweet, Sour and Mineral Flavours. But here and in the Finish the Oak and Wood tend to take the upper hand. This Clynelish was bottled in time although I personally think that it could have been bottled a year or so earlier. Still, I believe that the investors in this cask will be quite pleased with the end result and the reasonable price given today's market circumstances. 



In 2011 three Whisky fans from the Netherlands jointly decided to buy a cask of Bunnahabhain 1986. The experiment was a success and the idea was taken a step further. Other selected casks would be bought and each cask would be offered up for sale in a limited number of parts per cask. The idea was to have a relatively small number of owners per cask that would facilitate joint tasting sessions. In the meantime 200 owners from Europe and Asia possess 45 casks from distilleries like Clynelish, Tomatin, Littlemill, Wolfburn, Strathearn, Isle of Harris, Tormore, Mortlach and Miltonduff. If you are interested to participate in this project, please visit their website:


The Clynelish Distillery was opened in 1819 and rebuilt in 1896. In 1968 a new Clynelish Distillery was erected nearby and the old Distillery was renamed Brora (The Bridges River). Brora was closed in May 1983 and part of the buildings are used by Clynelish, now owned by Diageo. A lot of the production is destined to be part of the JW Blends.


Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Clynelish 1997 (Cask # 6935 Casqueteers)
Type: Single Cask Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 52.1%
Chill-Filtration: No
Whisky Review # 540
Sample provided by Adri from the Netherlands. Many Thanks!

Colour: Amber (Natural Colour). Cask # 6935 definitively gave more colour to the Clynelish spirit.

Nose: Quite different from Cask 6942. It's a Rich and Mature Nose but I don't get as many Fresh Fruit notes. I rather find Red Berries, Dried Fruit and Nuts that I would normally link to a Sherry or Red Wine Finish. Interesting! I also find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Marzipan, Honey or Beeswax, lightly Charred Oak, Straw, Mandarin, Apple, Banana Liqueur and light Varnish. On the Nose, the Alcohol is nicely integrated.      

Palate: The Wood and Wood Spices are taking the lead here. It's all a bit Edgy and Fiery for my taste. I find Toasted Barley, Charred Oak, Toffee, Mandarin, Lemon, Apples, Ginger Ale, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Dried Herbs and some Mineral notes.       

Finish: Quite Long and Dry. A slightly Hot and Rough Alcohol bite towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, Charred Oak, Nuts, Mandarin, Orange, Apples, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Dried Herbs. 

Picture: Whiskybase

This Clynelish does not improve with added Water. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 82.5

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

General Remarks: This Clynelish was distilled on the 14th of July 1997. For 18 long years it matured in an Ex-Bourbon Hogshead with Cask # 6935 before being bottled at Cask Strength on the 16th of July 2015. The final price for the participating Casqueteers is roughly 90 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: It is generally accepted that more or less 70% of the Flavours and Aromas of a Whisky are generated by the contact between the Spirit and the wood. That makes the Cask all important. When Nosing and Tasting these two Casqueteers samples it becomes clear what the different Casks have done to the same Clynelish spirit that was distilled on the same day back in 1997. Cask # 6942 was slightly less active and in that way more Fresh Fruit Aromas were preserved. Cask 6935 was a more intense cask and the Wood not only left more colour but also more Wood and Wood Spice and, surprisingly, some Aromas and Flavours that would suggest some Wine influence. In the end I find that both Whiskies have matured well and could have been bottled slightly earlier. For the rest it's, as always, a matter of taste. My personal favourite is cask 6942!    

Jan van den Ende                                                                      May 19, 2016