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

Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)

”Shake Your Bothy”

Whisky Review # 958

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)
Distilled at: Lochranza Distillery, Arran
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.2% (Natural Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in American Oak Quarter casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 35-50 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ Good
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Too much Wood and Alcohol for me to really enjoy it.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Nervous and quite Malty. Be sure to give it enough time in the glass before Nosing to avoid the initial wafts of Alcohol and Varnish. The Wood contact is very clear. There's (Dried) Fruit to be found but it smells slightly Artificial. The Nose is Medium-Sweet but also offers Sour and Salty notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains and Malt, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Sour Apple, Pineapple, Papaya, Melon, Grass and Straw, Earth, Wax, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Nuts, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Pear, Strawberry Yogurt, Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, Banana, Nectarine, Apricot, Orange, Glue, Dough, Varnish, Nail Polish Remover, Wet Rocks, Pepper, Nutmeg and a light hint of Polished Leather.


Palate:

Young and rather Harsh. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Fruit but even more Wood and Spices. Quite Dry. The ABV is too high in my opinion.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Mango, Bounty Bars, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Pear, Banana, Grapefruit, Papaya, Nectarine, Nougat, Slivovitz, Dried Herbs, Varnish, Rubber and Menthol.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Hot and Spicy. A few Sour notes. Increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. This should be better with Water. I find Toasted Grains and Nuts, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Dough, Grass, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Pear, Cassis, Slivovitz, Bounty Bars, Mustard, Charred Oak, Wax, Caffe Latte, Varnish, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that's almost a must in this case. Malt and Fruit develop in this way and it simply becomes easier to drink. Wood, Spices and Alcohol remain in control though.

Rating: 80 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7 (*******)

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. 

Conclusion:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) opened a second distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran in 2019 that takes care of the peated expressions. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 18, 21 & 25 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Sherry Cask The Bodega, Barrel Reserve, Machrie Moore and The Bothy that I'm reviewing today. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit!

The Quarter Cask The Bothy was relaunched with a new look in the autumn of 2019 and added to the core range. Although it's a NAS Whisky it is said that it matured for seven years in 1st-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before receiving a 2-Year Finish in 125 Liter Quarter Casks made of American Oak.

This is not an easy Single Malt to drink. The high ABV and the intense Wood contact during maturation make this a hard ride. It's a pity really because there's a lot of Fruit out there but it's overpowered by Oak and Alcohol that are responsible for the increasing Bitterness toward the Finish. Future Bothys would benefit from a longer maturation in standard casks, a shorter Quarter Cask Finish and a lower ABV in my opinion. But that's just me of course. I bought a bottle of this in Germany and it will take me a while to finish it. Quite unusual for me ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2022

Balvenie Peated Triple Cask


”Rock and a Hard Place”


Whisky Review # 956

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Balvenie Peated Triple Cask
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 14 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48.3%
Maturation: Mix of First and Re-Fill Ex-Bourbon - and Oloroso Sherried casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Average: US$ 100 (July 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Not really bad but too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Not really Peated and not really Balvenie. Not quite my thing.

Colour:

Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

The Nose is welcomed by a pleasant mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes with gentle Peat and light Smoke in the background. It's a little bit on the light side while at the same time the Alcohol is noticeable. The Sherry influence is limited. Not bad but lacking Power.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Green Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Lemon, Banana, slightly Sour Berries, Melon, Earthy Peat and light Smoke, Dried Herbs, Ginger, Cinnamon and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Butterscotch, Heather-Honey, Wax, Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Grass and Hay, Dried Fruit Chocolate Bars, Leather, Pepper and Iodine. Distant hints of Bacon and Plastic.


Palate:

Few people would recognize this as Balvenie in a Blind Tasting. It's quite different when compared to the regular expressions of this distillery. The Palate does not have the same pleasantness as the Nose. It's a little Sharp actually and Thin as well. The Peat and Smoke are more noticeable now but not in an overpowering way. I miss the usual Balvenie Malty Strength. A bit Un-Balanced when compared to the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast/Bread, Salted Caramel, Dried Fruit Hazelnut-Chocolate Bars, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nectarine, Wet Clay and Smoke, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather Honey, Toffee, Butterscotch, Golden Syrup, Vanilla, Wax, Orange, Green Apple, Pear, Toasted Pineapple, Ashes, Herbal Tea, Leather, Cloves, Nutmeg & Wet Rocks. Distant hints of Plastic, Metal, Bacon and Espresso.   

Finish:

Middle-Long and slightly Thin. Sweet & Sour at first but with developing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point. I find Toasted and Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast/Bread, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Wet Clay, Campfire Smoke, Apricot Pastry, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Wax, Orange, Nectarine, Cocoa, Dried Herbs, Musty Charred Oak, Nutmeg, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Mint and traces of Plastic and Metal.


Drinking Advice:

Due to the size of the sample I only tasted this Balvenie neat.

Rating: 82 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2         )

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


Conclusion:

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. They have an extensive core range that includes the 12 Doublewood, the 15 Years Sherry Cask and the Portwood 21. We tried to visit the distillery in 2014 and 2019 but both times it was closed for maintenance. Balvenie is currently ranked nr. 6 in the list of world wide Single Malt sales.

Trials with Peated Balvenie started in 2001 when the Whisky market was in a dip & the industry looked for innovations and new flavours. The peated Triple Cask I am reviewing today was launched in 2017, initially as a Travel Retail Exclusive. It's made with 100% peated Barley. 

I love new initiatives and I'm sure that Balvenie is able to produce a good peated whisky while maintaining the distillery character. That's not quite the case with this peated Triple Cask though. The Peat (Clay) and Smoke are not overwhelming but still manage to obscure the distillery character. It also works powerless for which I blame the indifferent cask management. It's not really a peated Single Malt and it's not really a Balvenie. The Triple Cask is caught between a Rock and a Hard place and as such I can't really recommend it.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            July 28, 2022

Bruichladdich Octomore 10.2


(Octo)More Than a Feeling


Whisky Review # 955

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 10.2 (96.9 PPM)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 24.000 Bottles
Age: 8 Years (2010- July 2019)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.9% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: 4 Years in 1st Fill Ex-Bourbon - 4 years in 3rd Fill Ex-Sauternes Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 140-180 (July 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Borderline acceptable for such a young Single Malt
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜Š A little too Young but one of the better Octomores I had so far

Colour:

Golden/Light Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Relatively Young and Sweet. The Sweet Wine cask influence is clearly there but it's not overdone. The expected Earthy Peat and BBQ Smoke are there of course but they don't totally overpower the other Aromas. The Nose is nicely balanced although the Alcohol is noticeable. As always nose along the edges while avoiding the middle of your glass. In doing so you will be able to avoid most of the Alcohol & identify the Fruity notes. The Nose is quite pleasant and invites you to take a sip.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Apricot-Filled Puff Pastry, Red Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Slightly Sour Berries & Cherries, Nectarine, Lemon, Wax, Earthy Peat, (Shell) Fish, Bacon and Pork on the BBQ, Brine, Soot, Leather Saddles, Charred Oak, Greek Olives, Pepper, Mint and mixed Herbs.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Burnt Caramel, Orange, Grapefruit, Dried Fruit like Figs, Plums & Dates, Hay and Grass, Tar, Ginger, Rubber and Petrol Station.


Palate:

Strong and Oily. A reasonably balanced mix of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Peat & Smoke are not overpowering the other Flavours. There's a slight Medicinal feel to the Palate. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Burnt Caramel, Ginger Bread, Red Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Sour Berries, Earthy Peat, (Shell) Fish and Pork on the BBQ, Hospital, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Brine, Charred Oak, Leather, Rubber, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mint and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Dough, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Christmas Cake, Tobacco, Copper Coins, Dried Herbs, Dark Chocolate, Aniseed, Cloves, Nutmeg & Coriander.   
 

Finish:

Medium Long with lingering Soot and Ashes. Mostly Sweet. A few Sour and slightly Bitter notes develop towards the Medium Dry to Dry, slightly Medicinal end. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Red Apple, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon, Earthy Peat, (Shell) Fish & Pork on the BBQ, Hospital, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Rubber, Copper Coins, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Nougat, Tobacco, Leather, Licorice, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamon, Cloves, Mint and Nutmeg. The Alcohol remains noticeable.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that enhances the Smoky character on the Nose. Fruity notes are enhanced on the Palate while the Finish becomes quite Spicy and rather Sharp. A few drops certainly help to open up this Octomore. But don't overdo it!

Rating: 87.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8 (********)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich & the heavily peated Port Charlotte & Octomore. The basic core range includes the Classic Laddie and a 10-year old Port Charlotte. The annual production amounts to around 1.1 million litres. About 10% of that is Octomore. Octomore by the way means " The Big Eighth". This is a medieval division of common ground.

The Octomore 10.2 was distilled in 2010 with 100% Scottish grown Optic and Oxbridge Barley from the 2009 harvest and matured entirely on Islay.

One of the better Octomore expressions I've had so far. It's quite balanced despite its obvious Youth and the high ABV. I like the way that the Peat and Smoke are complementary to the other Aromas and Flavours. This could be perfected with a few years more in the cask. I also like the use of 3rd Fill Ex-Sauternes casks. They provide enough Sweetness to give balance to this 10.2 but do not leave this Malt cloyingly Sweet. Still, I could imagine that certain Bruichladdich fans would find this 10.2 a little too Sweet for their liking. I like this Octomore but I'm not sure I would pay this kind of money for such a young Malt.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            July 21, 2022

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Macallan 18 Years Triple Cask Matured


”Price Tag”

Whisky Review # 953

Country: Scotland
Region: Highland/Speyside
Brand: Macallan Triple Cask Matured (Fine Oak)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of American & European Sherried casks and Ex-Bourbon barrels
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 225-325 (July 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ Well-made Sherried Speysider with only a few flaws

Colour:

Light Amber with Shades of Orange (Natural Color)

Nose:

The Nose is mainly Sweet but a few Sour notes provide some balance. The Alcohol is noticeable and I detect a bit of Sulfur as well. Nothing serious though. The Nose is certainly not unpleasant but it could do with a slightly higher ABV. The Sherry casks are clear but this Macallan is certainly not a Sherry-Bomb. Main drivers are Malt, (Dried) Fruit and Nuts.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Dates, Figs, Plums and Bananas, Nectarine, Orange, Apricot-Filled Puff Pastry, Floral Perfume, Herbs Garden, Nougat, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Charred Oak, Cinnamon & Ginger.    
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Heather-Honey, Yeast, Grass and Hay, Bounty Bars, Grapefruit and Lemon, Red Apple, Pepper, Leather and Tobacco. Hints of Sulfur, Rubber and Struck Matches.


Palate:

It basically follows the Nose. It
's a bit on the Thin side though. This 18 Years really deserves an ABV of at least 46%. Bitter-Sweet and Sour notes are in balance.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums and Dates, Apricot-Filled Puff Pastry, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Charred Oak, Grapefruit, Orange and Spices like Pepper and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Salty Caramel, Grass and Hay, Red Apple, Dark Cherries, Lemon, Bounty Bars, Floral Perfume, Nougat, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Nutmeg  & Cloves. Hints of Sulfur and Rubber.


Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Creamy. Bitter-Sweet, Salty and Sour notes provide balance. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. The Bitterness increases somewhat towards the Medium-Dry end. The Sulfur note is more noticeable as well. I also find Toasted & Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Dried Fruit Sultanas, Raisins & Plums, Nougat, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Red Apple, Herbs, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Caffe-Latte, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, Tobacco and Leather. In the background hints of Rubber.

Drinking Advice:

A few drops of Water help ease the Alcohol and enhance the Fruity notes. The Finish becomes more Spicy though and Menthol is noticeable. It also becomes quite Dry. I would suggest to add a few drops though.

Rating: 85.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8 (********)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!


Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


Conclusion:

The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid and is located in the village of Craigellachie (Morayshire). The majority of the shares is owned by the Edrington Group. The current production lies at around 11.5 million litres per year. The core range includes a/o Sherry Oak, 12, 18, 25, 30, 12 Triple Cask & Gold, 12, 15 and 18 Double Cask. We have visited both the old & the new distillery and liked the old one better. For some reason I don't like the combination of Modern infra-structure and Whisky. I'm more the Springbank kinda guy!

The 18 Years Triple Cask was launched in mid-2018 to replace the Fine Oak. My sample was distilled in 2020. In the meantime this expression is now discontinued and replaced by the Double Cask version.

This 18 Years is a well-made though not exceptional Macallan. There are a few things that would certainly have improved this Single Malt such as a slightly higher ABV and the absence of the Sulfur and Rubber notes. Personally I also feel that the Wood slightly dominates the Spirit. A few more Fruity notes would have benefited this Macallan. Still, it's a nice Sherried Speysider. It comes at a hefty price though! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                              July 4, 2022

GlenDronach Port Wood



”(Follow Me) I’m the Port Piper”

Whisky Review # 952

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: GlenDronach Port Wood - Limited Edition
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: PX and Oloroso Sherried Wood with Finish in Port Pipes
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 55-70 (June 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜” Quite expensive for a rather Young Single Malt.
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Ideal introduction to Whisky for Port Wine lovers.

Colour:

Light Copper with shades of Orange and Brown (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young and slightly Thin. The Port Pipes are quite dominant and I would suspect that the Sherry casks used were 2nd and/or 3rd refill as their influence is rather limited. Dark Red Fruit, Dried Fruit and Toffee/Butterscotch are the main drivers. The Nose is mainly Sweet but a few Sour notes can be found as well. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Butterscotch, Fruit Cake made with Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Figs, Dates, Dark Berries and Nuts, Orange, Mulled Red Wine that was spiced with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger, Oak Char & a Tropical Fruit note that I can't quite put my fingers on.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Caramel, Syrup, Honey, Apricot-Filled Puff-Pastry, Grass and Straw, Apple Strudel, Lemon, Banana, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Track and Leather. A bit of Artificially-Flavored Bubble Gum after a while.


Palate:

Young, on the Thin side and a little Rough. The Port Pipes remain in control and the Alcohol is present. The Palate is mainly Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour, Salty & Dusty notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Toffee, Butterscotch, Fruit Cake made with Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Figs, Dates, Dark Berries & Nuts, slight Sour mulled Red Wine spiced with Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger and Cardamom, Oak Char and Orange-Flavored Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Syrup, Wax, Yeast, Grass/Straw, Dusty Track, Lemon, Grapefruit, Cooked Red Apple, Tobacco, Metal and Aniseed.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter Sweet and a little Thin with a developing Sourness towards the Medium-Dry to Dry end. The Port Pipes maintain their strong presence. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Caramel, Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Figs, Dark Berries, Dates and Apricots, Nuts, Orange flavored Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Oak Char, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Coconut, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger and Cardamom. Distant hints of Licorice, Aniseed and Tobacco. The Alcohol remains noticeable.


Drinking Advice:

Although a little added Water enhances the Fruit notes on the Nose, the Palate and Finish become even Thinner and quite Spicy. Just a few drops will do here.

Rating: 82  - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5  (*******1/2)

Nose: 20 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 20.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Okay/Good


Conclusion:

GlenDronach was founded in 1826 by James Allardice in Forgue, Aberdeenshire. It changed hands various times before being acquired in 2016 by Brown Forman. The core range consists of the Hielan 8 Years, the 12 Years, the 18 Y Allardice, the 21 Years Parliament and the Traditionally Peated. We visited the distillery in May 2019 and we had an unforgettable time there. I will treasure this memory for always. A very nice Tour and a tasting that included the whole range of the distillery plus some extras. Great! I can only fully recommend a visit!

The Port Wood that I'm reviewing today was launched in 2019 and was inspired by Scotland's history of importing casked Port Wine from Porto during the 19th century. The Port Wood is a NAS Single Malt but I would think that it matured for a total of between 8 and 10 years of which roughly 2 years in Port Pipes. The Port Wood is a creation of GlenDronach Master Blender Rachel Barrie.

The GlenDronach Port Wood is aptly named. It's a Young Single Malt that matured in Re-Fill Sherried Wood with a lengthy Port Pipe Finish that left its unmistakable mark. It's probably the best introduction to Single Malt for Port Wine fans. For long-time Whisky fans it's likely to be a little too Thin, a little too Young and very predictable. It's okay I guess but I prefer the 12 Years as my to-go-to GlenDronach.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 28, 2022

***Footnote: One of my readers on Facebook correctly noted that the picture of the bottle at the top of this post mentions a maturity period of 10 Years. So it would not be a NAS Single Malt as I mentioned in the text. The picture is a 2019 bottling when this Port Wood carried a 10 Years Age statement. This statement disappeared in later versions however & the NAS sample I tasted today was bottled in late 2020 or early 2021. I'm sorry about this mix-up! Cheers, Jan.

Laphroaig The 1815 Legacy Edition


”Diet Laphroaig - Money For Nothing”


Whisky Review # 951

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig The 1815 - Legacy Edition
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: 1st Fill Over-Charred Bourbon casks with Finish in New European Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 75-105 (June 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too expensive for what it offers. Stay with the 10 Years!
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too Young, Too Mediocre and Too Expensive!

Colour:

Golden Amber with shades of Orange and Brown (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young. A mix of Sweet, Sour, Musty, Hospital, Spicy & Mineral Notes. A bit of Plastic & Rubber as well. The Peat & Smoke are there but certainly not in an overwhelming way. It's all a bit subdued, Laphroaig on a diet!

Main Aromas:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Honey, Yeast, Wet Peat and Grass, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Raisins and Figs, Orange, Smoked Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Nuts, Mint, Cinnamon and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Nectarine, Green Apple, Tangerine, Hospital, Soot, Brine, Plastic, Tar, Wax, Rubber, Wet Rocks, Mushrooms, Petrol, Grapefruit, Bacon on the BBQ, Licorice, Cardamom, Pepper and Nutmeg.


Palate:

Young. The Alcohol and New Oak are more noticeable at this point. The Palate is a mix of Sweet, Bitter & Sour Notes and is driven by Oak & Wood Spices. The Plastic & Rubber of the Nose are still there as well.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Burnt Toast, Burnt Straw, Salted Caramel, Honey, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Raisins, Prunes and Figs, Nuts, Musty Oak, BBQ Smoke, Wet Peat, Iodine, Ashes, Tar, Bacon, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Nectarine, Seville-Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Soot, Plastic, Rubber, Paint Thinner, Hospital, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Cardamom & Currie.

Finish:

Middle-Long and mostly Sweet. Some Sour and Bitter notes towards the rather Dry end. Lots of Oak and Wood Spices. Very Tannic. I find Malted and Toasted Barley, Burnt Heather, Salted Caramel, Honey, Brown Sugar, Wet Peat, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Wet Rocks, Ashes, Farmyard, Nuts, Oak, Herbal Tea, Grapefruit, Seville Orange, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Bacon, Leather, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Curry, Menthol and Licorice. The Plastic and Rubber stay with us till the end.


Drinking Advice:

You can add a little Water to The 1815. Not too much though to avoid it becoming Liquid Peat Smoke with a Menthol infusion.

Rating: 81.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: Borderline 7 (*******)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Okay


Conclusion:

Laphroaig is located a few miles outside Port Ellen on the island of Islay and was founded in 1815 by Alexander & Donald Johnston. It was bought by Beam Suntory in 2014. Since, the distillery has launched a number of NAS Whiskies that received mixed critics. I find this a pity as I used to consider Laphroaig one of my favorite distilleries. The 10, the discontinued 18 and the old 15 Years are some of my all time favorites. I also love to visit the place and the people. The annual production currently amounts to 3.3 million litres of which 70% is destined to be bottled as Single Malt. The core range consists of the 10, the 10 CS, the 10 with Sherry Oak Finish, the Quarter Cask, the Triple Wood, the Lore, the 16 and the 25 years. The 1815 I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017 to celebrate over two centuries of Laphroaig history and forms part of the Travel Retail core range.

It can't be denied that Laphroaig has changed since it was bought by Suntory Beam in 2014. Before that you either liked or disliked Laphroaig. There was no middle way. Today there are many Laphroaigs that are okay or simply forgettable. And the worst of them usually go to the Travel Retail graveyard. Like this 1815. It's okay but no more than that. It's a Young whisky and you can't hide that with extra Alcohol & extra New Oak. And it's disproportionally expensive. It's similar to the An Cuan Mor although the latter is at least different, more balanced and more enjoyable. The 1815 is dominated by Wood and Wood Spices and is boring. I don't like Diet Coke very much and this Diet Laphroaig, although drinkable, will certainly not be on my Christmas list! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 21, 2022