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

Lochside 1991 (Daily Dram) Review


“Behind Closed Doors”

Whisky Review # 717

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Lochside 1991- Closed Distillery (1992)
Bottled By: Daily Dram in 2008 - 252 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Sherry cask  
Chill Filtration: No           
Price Range: US$ 450-500 (April 2018). Will be hard to find though.
Buying Advice: 📈 For investors and collectors only.     

Colour

Light Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose

This is only my second and probably my last Lochside. It's really like Nosing a piece of history. That said, this Single Malt needs a lot of airtime before you start Nosing as there's a huge initial waft of Varnish or Pain Thinner. This does diminish over time but it never totally disappears. I would normally connect that to New Oak but that's not the case here. This Lochside matured in a Refill Sherry cask and not a particularly active one at that. There are no Sherry monsters in sight. The Nose is mostly Sweet and Fruity but a few Sour and Floral tones pop us as well.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits), Toast, Fresh Puff Pastry, Lemon, Banana, Nectarine, Hay, Fresh Herbs and Cinnamon.    

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Apple, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Honey, Raisins, Nuts, Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder, Oak, Fanta Orange, Bourbon-like Glue and slightly Sour Passion Fruit.     
  
Lochside 1991 DD

Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, a little Sharp and Nervous and quite Dry. A few Sour and Green notes as well. It's in line with the Nose but less Fruity.

Main Flavours:

Barley, Toast and Salted Butter, Varnish, Seville Orange, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Slightly Sour Passion Fruit, Banana, Refill Oak, Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder and Pepper.               

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Dried Fruit, Peanut Butter, Papaya Cream, Nutmeg and Espresso.  
           
Finish:

Middle-Long, a little Sharp and Edgy and basically Bitter-Sweet. Some Sour notes towards the Dry end. You really wouldn't give it 17 years at this point. I find Malt, Dark Chocolate, Refill Oak, Grapefruit, Varnish, Espresso, Strawberry Jam (the kind of industrialised small cartons you get for breakfast at three star hotels), Pepper and a bit of Dried Fruit (Banana, Plums perhaps) and Nuts.     

Drinking Advice:

I added the famous 4 drops of Water and that helps to get rid of the Varnish on the Nose that becomes quite Fruity and Malty. Like one of those French Puff Pastries filled with Peach that you buy in Brittany and Normandy. Palate and Finish do not change a whole lot but become more user-friendly. My advise would be to add a few drops of Water in this case.

Rating: 84     

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

Drinking Experience:

Interesting/Good.

Conclusion:

The Lochside Brewery was founded in 1781 in Montrose (Angus). In 1957 it was bought by Macnab Distilleries Ltd and was converted into a Whisky distillery that produced both Grain and Malt Whiskies. It was owned by Allied Domecq when mothballed in 1992 and demolished in 2005. A large part of the output was used in Spanish Blends and the Sandy Macnab Blend. The latter Brand is now owned by Chivas Regal (Pernod Ricard). 

Daily Dram is a joint-venture between The Nectar, Zolder Belgium and the Dutch importer Bresser & Timmer.

I certainly liked Tasting this Lochside. First of all because it's a part of history and also because the Malts distilled in 1991 and before still show stubbornness and quite a bit of character. Nothing mainstream as yet. It also has its flaws of course. The cask was not first class (Varnish) and the Spirit certainly could have done with a few more years in the cask. It's a bit Rough and Edgy but also quite consistent from Nose to Finish. I would certainly like to try other Lochside expressions but that won't be easy if not impossible. Buying a bottle of this Single Malt at the current price level does not make sense from a Flavour/Aroma point of view. But to become the owner of a piece of history might be a good proposition for the collectors among us!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 16, 2018

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Ardbeg An Oa Review

Image result for ardbeg an oa

“Say It Loud I’m NAS and I’m Proud”

Whisky Review # 716

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg An Oa
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.6%
Maturation: A variety of casks. Bourbon and Virgin Oak are the most important 
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: 😀 Positive. Nice, Young, Modern Ardbeg.    

Colour

Pale Gold (Natural Colour)

Nose

Sweet, relatively Young, a little Dry and Coastal. The Smoke and Peat are still there but not in a dominant way. The Alcohol is not totally integrated. The Sherry cask influence is quite limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered and slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Herbal Tea, Brine, Ashes, Candle Wax, Coconut, Banana, Green Apple, Smoke, Dusty Earth, Lemon, Grapefruit, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Floral Soap, Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Seaweed, Nuts, Mint, Aniseed, Licorice, Ginger, Dried Fruit and Leather.    


Palate:

It is definitively a Young Whisky but somehow the quality of the casks mitigate this fact. It's a little Thinner than I expected and the Alcohol and Virgin Oak are more noticeable. Still nothing that suggests a large number of PX casks in the mix. Peat and Smoke are more noticeable at this point. The Palate is a mix of Sweet, Bitter and Salty notes. Not bad at all.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Smoke, Dusty Earth, Charred Virgin Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Cocoa, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Resin, Aniseed and Licorice.           

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Herbal Tea, Ashes, Tar, Fish/Shellfish/Bacon on the BBQ, Nuts, Grass/Straw, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup.  
           
Finish:

Good Length. Mostly Sweet but quite Lemony at the same time. Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Heather-Honey, Herbal Tea, Tar, Ashes, Smoke, Lemon, Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Charred Virgin Oak, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Dusty Earth, Caffe Latte, Green Apple, Pepper and Cloves.      

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this An Oa. 

Rating: 85    

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

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The An Oa is named after the Mull of Oa in the South-West of Islay and offers the location of the Ardbeg distillery a bit of protection against the rough Atlantic. By giving this Ardbeg expression this name, the distillery wants to express that the An Oa shows the softer and rounder side of this distillery without losing out too much on the original Distillery character. It was launched in 2017 and forms part of the core range.

Maturation took place in no less than seven different cask types of which First Fill Bourbon casks, Heavily Charred Virgin Oak and PX casks are the important ones. After maturation, all these casks were subsequently married in a large French Oak vat that can be seen in The Gathering Room at Ardbeg.

I don't like most of the recent Ardbeg expressions that are average at best and way too expensive. So I was pleasantly surprised by the An Oa. It's a Modern Malt that should please consumers. Not too Peaty and reasonably balanced. It also shows that NAS Whiskies can be quite okay if you use innovative ways to mature young Spirit at a time when you have to consider the current lack of good Bourbon and Sherry casks. I think Ardbeg did a good job here. Sure, it's a Young Whisky but it somehow does not feel that way. It's reasonably well-balanced and it's tasty. And it's not too expensive. A worthy new member of the Ardbeg core range. I can recommend it. 

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 12, 2018



The pictures were taken during our visits to this distillery in May 2017.

Bunnahabhain Ceobanach Batch 1 Review - Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona Batch 5 Review - Bunnahabhain Eirigh Na Creine Batch 2 Review


“Bunnahabhain Special”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as most of the other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will review specific distilleries or take a look at specific bottlers, countries, regions or Blends. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate more on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's Distillery-Special I will review three Bunnahabhain expressions. Enjoy!

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Image result for bunnahabhain ceobanach batch 1

Whisky Review # 713

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain Ceobanach - Limited Edition- (Small) Batch # 01
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (At least 10 Years) - Bottled 2014
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.3%
Maturation: Bourbon Barrels   
Chill Filtration: No          
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: 😒 Uninteresting and Thin. Too expensive for what it offers. 

Colour

Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A little Thin and obviously relatively Young. Although Peat and Smoke are not exceptionally strong they are the main drivers on the Nose. 

Main Aromas:

Peat (Dirty Earth), Cold Smoke, Peabees, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass/Straw, Lemon Peel and White Chocolate. Peabees (Peated Biscuits) is a word I invented when reviewing the Toiteach.
      
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Brine, Tar, Fresh Newspaper, Mint, Leather, Nuts and Nutshells, Apple, Nectarine, Bounty Bars and a few Mineral notes.  


Palate:

A little Thin despite the seemingly adequate ABV. Relatively Young, Medium-Dry, Sweet and a little Salty. A light Bitterness as well.

Main Flavours:

Peat (Dirty Earth), Cold Smoke, Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Brine, Tar, Oak Char, Ashes, Nutshells, Orange, Grapefruit, Apple, Pear and Pepper.     

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Butterscotch, Lemon, Iodine, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Licorice, Lemon-Grass, Mint, Leather and Freshly grated Ginger.   

Finish:

Not very Long, Medium Dry, a little Hot, slightly Meaty and Bitter-Sweet. I find Toasted Cereals, Peat (Dirty Earth), Cold Smoke, Straw, Salted Caramel, Ashes, Tar, Leather, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Smoked Mackerel, Oak Char, Licorice, Apple, Sugar, Rubber Tyres, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.   

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Bunnahabhain. It's Thin enough as it is.

Rating: 82

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay. No more than that. Nothing to get excited about. 

Conclusion:

The peated Ceobanach was launched in 2014 and is part of Bunnahabhain's core range. Although it's a NAS expression it is generally assumed that the Spirit for this Malt matured for at least 10 Years. It is pronounced as Kyaw-Bin-Och which means "Smoky Mist". It honours the times that the people on Islay used Peat for many things, including producing Bunnahabhain Whisky.

I'm not impressed by the Ceobanach. It's a young and thin peated Whiskey that misses the strength of say young Ardbeg or young Laphroaig. It's almost like a diet version of young Ardbeg. Within the Bunnahabhain portfolio it is somewhat comparable to the Toiteach. I must say I like the latter a lot better. The Sherry cask Finish gives it more depth and it doesn't feel so Thin.        



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Whisky Review # 714

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona - Batch # 05
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: A mix of (mainly) Refill Bourbon casks and some Sherry casks.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 70 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: 😒 Uninteresting and Thin. Too expensive for what it offers.

Colour

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Again, a little Thin and Underwhelming. There's a Youngish feel to it, almost like a Gin or Rum or some other white Spirit. Despite the high ABV, the Alcohol is not overpowering. Like with the Ceobanach, the Smoke and Peat are not really strong. Nevertheless they are the main drivers on the Nose. 

Main Aromas:

Cold Smoke, Muddy Earth, Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Toffee, Refill Oak, Citrus (Mandarin, Orange) and Pepper.  

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Fish/Shellfish on the BBQ, Cured Meat, Vanilla, Band-Aid, Nuts, Honey, Ginger, Tar, Ashes, Licorice and Menthol.        


Palate:

Young, Sugary Sweet and Dusty. Again, Peat and Smoke are the main drivers. 

Main Flavours:

Muddy Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Pepper, Nutmeg, Nut-Shells, Toasted Barley, Mandarin and Salted Toffee. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Hospital, Orange, Vanilla, Licorice, Dried Herbs, Earth and Cocoa Powder       

Finish:

Middle-Long and Sweet with a few Bitter notes towards the Medium-Dry end. A little Thinner than you would expect at 50%. I find Muddy Earth, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Straw, Toasted Barley, Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Charred Refill Oak, Nuts, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cocoa Powder and a hint of Raspberry.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Malt develops on the Nose. But the New Make Spirit or Vodka feel becomes stronger. Palate and Finish become very Thin. Better sit it neat.

Rating: 82  

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay. Uneventful and actually Boring. 

Conclusion:

The Cruach Mhona (Gaelic for Peat Stack) is a lightly peated Bunnahabhain that was launched in 2011, initially only for the Travel Retail shops. Just as the Ceobanach, the Cruach-Mhona totally disappoints me. Another Young, slightly Peaty whisky without depth and character. Apart from a little Citrus it is totally lacking Fruity components. It's quite interesting but not very pleasing that both Bunnahabhains make a Thin impression despite the high ABV. Indifferent Cask Management if you ask me. If you like this distillery you're way better off with the standard 12 years that has a much better Price/Quality ratio.



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Image result for bunnahabhain eirigh na greine batch 02

Whisky Review # 715

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain Eirigh Na Creine - Batch # 02
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.3%
Maturation: Marriage of Bourbon Casks and Red Wine Casks from France & Italy.
Chill Filtration: No         
Price Range: US$ 80-90 (April 2018).
Buying Advice: 😒 Not good enough at this price level. Look for alternatives!    

Colour

Amber with a few Reddish notes (Natural Colour)

Nose

Light, Young and Sweet with a few Sour and Salty notes. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Yeast, Red Wine, Almond Marzipan and Nuts.          

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Dried Fruit (Raisin), Berries, Brine, Hazelnut paste, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger. A Touch of Sulphur right at the start.  


Palate:

Thin, Young, slightly Sharp and quite Dry. 

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Charred Refill Oak, Dried Fruit  (Orange and Apricot), Artificially Flavoured Candies (Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry), Pepper and slightly Sour Red Wine.        

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Dusty Road, Brine, Cocoa Powder, Hazelnuts, Ginger and Cloves.         

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and a little Hot. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Toffee, Cocoa Powder, Mulled Wine, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Raspberry,Strawberry), Charred Oak, Hazelnuts, Citrus, Pepper, Cloves and Ginger.     

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes even more Yeasty. Palate/Finish do not really improve although the sharpness disappears. It becomes Thin though. 

Rating: 78   

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5  

Drinking Experience:

Okay I guess. This Whisky leaves me completely indifferent.

Conclusion:

The Eirigh Na Greine (Gaelic for "Morning Sky") was released in 2013, originally only for Travel Retail. The name refers to the Amber colour of this Whisky that was partly matured in Italian and French Red Wine casks. As you know I'm not a huge fan of Red Wine Finishing in general. And this Bunnahabhain won't change my opinion on the subject. The combination of Young Malt, indifferent casks, a high ABV and a relatively short Finish almost never works for me. The result in this case is a Thin, slightly Hot and under matured Single Malt with a few Mulled Red Wine notes. Not at all my style. If you like this type of Whisky however look elsewhere. I can fully recommend the Longrow 11 Years Cabernet Sauvignon.

All in all this was a very disappointing Bunnahabhain session. The way I see it, all three expressions suffer from Youth and indifferent Cask Management. Many people are of the opinion that distilleries do not use their best casks for Travel Retail expressions. I certainly believe this is the case here. If you like Young Bunnahabhain, go for the 12 Years or the Toiteach instead. Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 9, 2018



The pictures were taken during our visits to this distillery in May 2014 and May 2017.

Scapa Glansa Review


“Where There’s Smoke, There’s No Fire”

Whisky Review # 706

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Scapa (The Orcadian) Glansa Batch GL 01 
Bottled: August 2016
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon casks with Peated Whisky Cask Finish   
Chill Filtration: Yes         
Price Range: US$ 50-70 (March 2018) 
Buying Advice: 😒 Light Simple Malt. Negative P/Q ratio. Pick it up at 40 US$. 

Colour:

Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light, Young, Waxy, Sweet and Fruity. A few Floral notes as well. The influence of the Peated Whisky cask Finish is rather limited. The Fruit Flavours are a bit Artificial like in Candies. 

Main Aromas:

Malt Biscuits, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Toffee, Nuts, Heather-Honey, Straw, Apple, Pear, Tinned Pineapple and Cinnamon,         

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Smoke, Dirty Earth, Cigar Ashes, Vanilla, Herbs, Salt, Banana, Nectarine, Oak and Cocoa.

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Palate:

The Delivery is very Thin, almost Watery. On the Palate, the Glansa is Young and still Nervous. Unfinished business. The Smoke and Dirty Earth are noticeable now but they remain in the background. Mostly Bitter-Sweet. A few Meaty and Sour notes as well. 

Main Flavours:

Burnt Toast, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Heather-Honey, Citrus Peel, Toasted Barley, Wax, Nuts, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Cinnamon and Pepper.    

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Smoke, Dirty Earth, Vanilla, Raw Meat, Resin, Banana, Oak, Tobacco, slightly Sour Grapes, Caffe Latte and Aniseed.      

Finish:

On the Short side. A little Dry towards the end. The Finish is Bitter-Sweet and quite Thin. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Oak, Wax, Nuts, Pepper, Nectarine, Aniseed, Earth and very light Smoke. I also detect a minor Metallic off-note.


Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Glansa. It's already Thin enough as it is.

Rating: 80 

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

Drinking Experience:

Light and Young mainstream Single Malt. Both drinkable and forgettable.  

Conclusion:

The Glansa was released in September 2016 as part of the new distillery line up. Its name was taken from the old Norse word for "Shining Storm-Laden Skies". The Maturation Process is unique for an Orkney Single Malt.Regular NAS Scapa Spirit matures in Ex-Bourbons casks before being finished in Oak casks that previously held Peated Whisky. Most likely these casks were purchased on Islay. Certainly an interesting experiment. The Peated Finish was quite Short though apparently and its influence is very limited. The Glansa is one of those forgettable and overpriced mainstream NAS Malts. Very nice presentation but a quite average Malt. There's nothing really wrong with it but it lacks depth and character. It's quite lifeless and bland, especially on the Palate and in the Finish. A drinking whisky rather than a sipping whisky. So far Scapa has not been able to offer a truly decent replacement for the discontinued 16 Years. And that's a pity! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 27, 2018

Fettercairn 15 Years Review - Aberfeldy 12 Years Review - Old Pulteney Clipper Review - Blair Athol 12 Years Flora & Fauna Review


“Highland Special # 1”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the coming months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific region like today or with specific bottlers, countries or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't go into details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's special I will review 4 Highland Single Malts. Enjoy!
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Whisky Review # 702

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Fettercairn - Distilled on March 22, 1995
Bottled by: Signatory Vintage on March 14, 2011 - 198 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.8% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Bourbon Cask   
Chill Filtration: No         
Price Range: Around US$ 80 (March 2018) - Discontinued
Buying Advice: 😐 Good P/Q ratio. If you like Springbank, give it a try!

Colour:

Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Alcohol is quite strong. I think it's the highest ABV I've encountered so far. Give it enough time in the glass to open up. There's the typical Varnish Aroma I so often find when Fresh Wood is used. The Nose is Light, slightly Oily and Medium-Sweet with some Fruity, Floral, Nutty and Grassy Aromas. 

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Butterkekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Caramel, Grass, Straw, Peardrops, Orange, Lemon, Dusty Road and Dyon Mustard.     

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather Honey, Wet Stone, Earth, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Salt, Tobacco and Coffee with Milk.

Print

Palate:

The Delivery is quite strong thanks to the high ABV. On the Palate, this Malt is Bitter-Sweet, Green, Woody, Spicy and Earthy. It's different when compared to your average modern Whisky.   

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Orange, Lemon, Peardrops, Dusty Road, Menthol, Heather-Honey, Pepper, Dried Herbs, Dyon Mustard, Hazelnut, Oak, Grass, Milk Chocolate and Caffe Latte.      

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Green Grape Seeds, Dusty Attic, Marzipan, Green Apple, Ginger and Nutmeg.  

Finish:

Medium-Long. Sweet at first but with an increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Malt, Heather-Honey, Dyon Mustard, Dusty Attic, Plum Jam, Lemon, Grass, Straw, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Oak, Hazelnuts, Toffee and a light Metallic (Iron) note.  

Drinking Advice:

I added a tea spoon of Water that helps to calm down the Alcohol. The main Aromas on the Nose are reinforced, especially Orange, Vanilla and Grass. I even think I pick up a little Earthy Peat. Not sure though. On the Palate, the Orange, Vanilla, Hazelnuts and Spices develop. I perceive increased Menthol, Oak and a little Licorice on the Finish. This Malt requires added Water.

Rating: 82.5 

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

Drinking Experience:

Interesting. The ABV is a bit too high.  

Conclusion:

Certainly an interesting Single Malt. Quite different from your average modern Mainstream Malt. Some unusual notes like the Dyon Mustard. A little Dirty at times but if you like Springbank you might give this a try if you can find it. The ABV is really strong and this Malt needs some added Water. Despite the fact that this Fettercairn does not quite match my preferred Aroma/Flavour profile, I did enjoy the Tasting session. If only because it stands out as different.


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Image result for aberfeldy 12 years

Whisky Review # 703

Country: Scotland
Region: Southern Highlands
Brand: Aberfeldy 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon casks 
Chill Filtration: Yes         
Price Range: US$ 40-55 (March 2018).
Buying Advice: 😏 Very simple entry Single Malt. At 40 US Dollars it's okay. 

Colour

Full (Old) Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Light and Sweet with Fruity, Floral and Grainy notes and a whiff of Smoke. The Alcohol is not fully integrated and is slightly Edgy. There's a light Blended Scotch feeling to the Nose. 

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Toast with a mixture of Butter and Margarine, Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Orange, Heather-Honey, Herbal Tea, Hay, Green Apple and Pear.    

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Floral Perfume, Melon, Smoke, Milk-Raisin Chocolate, Refill Oak, Lemon, White Grape Juice and Almonds. 


Palate:

Thin Delivery. Bitter and Sugary Sweet at the same time. I'm not too sure if I would have recognised it as a Single Malt in a Blind Tasting. It tastes more like a Blended Whisky with an increased Malt percentage.   

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Toast with Margarine, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Apple, Mandarin Juice, Grass, Straw and Refill Oak.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Melon, Lemon, Almonds, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon, Canned Pineapple, Herbal Tea, Aniseed, light Menthol and Milk Chocolate. 

Finish:

Bitter-Sweet, a little Musty, Medium-Dry and Short. I find Toasted Cereals, Hay, Grass, Sugar, Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Orange, light Smoke, Dusty Road,  Orange, Nuts, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Refill Oak, light Menthol and Licorice. A little Cocoa Powder perhaps. The Blend feeling remains. 

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes friendly. Malt and Fruit develop a bit more and the sharp Alcohol retreats. It smells more like a simple Single Malt now. Palate and Finish become quite Thin. Still, I recommend to add a few drops of Water to this Aberfeldy. I did not expect that to be honest.

Rating: 79.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20 

Drinking Experience:

Average. Thin and Uninspired Single Malt. Almost like a Blend. Improves with Water. 

Conclusion:

The Aberfeldy 12 Years is a simple entry Single Malt with a few Blended Scotch characteristics. It does not offend in any way but it does not provide lots of fun as a sipping Malt either. Okay if you are just entering the world of Single Malts but too Thin and without depth for advanced Single Malt lovers. If you can get it at 40 US Dollars you will be okay. Don't pay much more though. Or save a bit more and go for the blended Dewar's 18 Years instead.   


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Image result for old pulteney clipper

Whisky Review # 704

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Old Pulteney Clipper (Round the World) - Limited Edition
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Refill Bourbon and Sherry casks 
Chill Filtration: No         
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (March 2018).
Buying Advice: 😏 Young Summer Malt. Negative P/Q ratio. US$ 40 max!   

Colour

Golden Sunlight (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Alcohol is present so be sure to give this Old Pulteney sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. The Clipper is mainly Fruity, Mineral, Grassy and Lemony but I find a few Salty and slightly Sour notes. Quite Young and Clean Nose. The Sherry Cask influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Toast and Margarine, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Green Apple, Pear, Grapes, Banana, Fruitcake with lots of Raisins and Sultanas, Lemon and Grass.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Orange, Heather Honey, Hazelnut/Milk Chocolate, Green Plums, Tinned Pineapple, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.   

old pulteney distillery

Palate:

Sweet, Fruity, Young, Yeasty, Light and a little Harsh. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Heather-Honey, Oak, Orange, Lemon and Grass. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Fruitcake with Raisins, Brown Sugar, Ginger, Pepper, Herbs and Caffe Latte.   

Finish:

Middle-Long, Creamy and Bitter Sweet. The Bitterness slightly increases towards the Dry and Salty end. I find Toasted Malt, Orange, Banana, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Heather-Honey, Apple, Banana, Herbs, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper and Oak.         

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose becomes very Light but also very Fruity. Palate and Finish do not show significant changes but you can add a few drops. No more than 5 to a small dram though!

Rating: 81  

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

Drinking Experience:

Good. Very Light and Clean. Summer Whisky.

Conclusion:

The Clipper was launched in 2014 to celebrate the 2013/2014 Round the World Yacht Race sponsored by the distillery. Only 2700 cases of 6 were made available to the market. The costs of the Sponsorship are to be partly recovered via the price of the Clipper Malt apparently. I say that because this coastal Whisky has a Salty price tag. It's obviously a young Whisky and the price should be below the standard 12 Years. That's not the case however. I know there are a few Refill Sherry casks in the mix but this Clipper should have been priced at around 40 to 45 US Dollars maximum. I've said it before and I will say it again. We should pay for Whisky and not for stories, however interesting they might be. Other than that the Clipper is a Young, Light, Clean and Fruity dram to be enjoyed on a hot Summer day.  


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Image result for blair athol 12 years flora & fauna

Whisky Review # 705

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Blair Athol Flora & Fauna
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Sherry and Bourbon casks   
Chill Filtration: Yes        
Price Range: US$ 55-70 (March 2018).
Buying Advice: 😊 Positive. Nice and Well-Balanced Sherried Highlander.   

Colour

Oloroso with traces of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

The Sherry Cask influence is very clear. I detect a little Sulphur but it stays well within limits. On the Nose this Blair Athol is Sweet and relatively Robust. The main Sherry Aromas are deepened with some interesting supportive tones. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Slightly Burn Toast, Salted Butter, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Raisins and Sultanas, Vanilla, Treacle, X-mas Cake, Orange, Almonds, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Fortified Red Wine and Red Apples.         

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Resin, Heather-Honey, Dusty Shelves, Smoke, Leather, Tobacco, Grass, Acetone, Tar, Cured Meat and Chocolate. 


Palate:

The Delivery is a little on the Thin side. An ABV of 46% would have been more adequate for this Blair Athol. On the Palate the Flora & Fauna is Bitter-Sweet with well-balanced Sherry influences. Quite nice. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Raisins, Sultanas and Figs, Heather-Honey, Dirty Earth, Orange, Dark Chocolate, Caramel, Cinnamon and Nutmeg       

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Plum Jam, Espresso, Rubber, Licorice, Leather, Smoke, Lemon, Vanilla, Grass, Oak, Walnuts, Tobacco, Apple, Pepper and Cloves.      

Finish:

Bitter-Sweet. The Bitterness increases somewhat towards the Medium-Dry end. I detect Toasted Malt, Dark Chocolate, Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Marzipan, Hazelnut, Oak, Slightly Sour Red Wine, Dirty Earth, light Smoke, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pepper, Cloves, Aniseed, Tobacco, Roasted Coffee Beans, Walnuts and Licorice.    

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and on the Nose the Dried Fruit and X-mas Cake develop. I find more balance between Casks and Spirit. Palate and Finish do not really benefit from the added Water but a few drops won't hurt either.

Rating: 84.5  

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

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Blair Athol 12 Years Flora & Fauna is a well-balanced Sherried Highlander. I like the way the Sherry interacts with the other Aromas and Flavours. It is never overwhelming. I'm pretty sure Blair Athol uses some of their better casks for this Single Malt. It's not really cheap but if you like the Aroma/Flavour profile I can certainly recommend this Blair Athol although it might not be easy to find it. My only suggestion would be to bottle it at 46%. Still, next time I'm in the Highlands I will certainly grab a bottle! Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 23, 2018



Some of the Pictures were taken during our visits to these distilleries in May 2014.