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

Laphroaig Four Oak Re-Visit August 2021


”Water of Life”


Whisky Review # 925

History:

On February 8, 2019 I reviewed a sample of the NAS Laphroaig Four Oak, bought from my reliable Dutch supplier Whiskysite. I was not impressed to put it mildly and it was one the worst Laphroaig expressions I have tasted so far. Let's start with an edited shorter version of the above mentioned Review. You can see the complete review here.

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig Four Oak
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Bourbon, Quarter, Virgin American Oak, European Oak Hogsheads
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 55-75 (February 2019)
Buying Advice: 😡Come On Laphroaig, you can do much better! P/Q ratio: 👎

Nose:

Young, Light, Sour and Dusty. Some of the famous Laphroaig Aromas are there but in a Watered-Down form. Re-Fill Wood and New Oak are noticeable and so is the Alcohol. The Nose is not really bad but it kinda smells like work in progress.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Slightly Burnt Toast, Dirty Peat, Cold Smoke, Caramel, Lemon Ice Tea, Grass, Green Apple, Unripe Banana, Wood Pellets, Smoked Fish, Floral Soap, Salt and Espresso.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Iodine, Soot, Ashes, Tar, Plastic, Rubber, Gas Station, Cheese, Mineral notes, Bounty Candy Bars and a hint of Sweaty Feet.


Palate
:


Young and Thin. A mix of Sugary Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Alcohol. Again this feeling of Unfinished Business.

Main Flavours:

Peated Grist, Dirty Peat, Cold Smoke, Salted Caramel, Floral Perfume, Smoked Fish and Shellfish, Green Apple, Pear, Green Banana, Lemon, Licorice, Pepper & Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toasted Nuts, Vanilla, Soot, Ashes, Tar, Plastic, Rubber, Iron and Espresso.

Finish:

Middle-Long and very Thin. A mixture of Sugary Sweet & Sour with some Bitterness that develops with time. Medium Dry. I find Peated Grist, Salted Caramel, Dirty Peat, Cold Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Brine, Iodine, Floral Soap, Lemon, Grapefruit, Smoked Fish & Shellfish, Vanilla, Espresso, Licorice, Pepper, Nutmeg and Casted Iron. Clearly a very young Islay Malt. The Alcohol is still noticeable.

Rating: 78

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Conclusion:

Whisky derives from the old Scottish Gaelic word Uisge-Beatha, Water of Life. It seems to me that Laphroaig takes this a bit too literally with this Four Oak. You use Water for making Whisky but it should not taste as such! Laphroaig used to be a Single Malt that you either liked or hated. With Single Malts like the Four Oak that's not the case anymore. This is overpriced young Islay malt that should probably convince newbies that Peated Whisky is not something you should be afraid of. I know there's a shortage of aged Spirit and I know there's a shortage of good and affordable casks. But I also know that you can't (yet) replace sufficient maturation by New Wood and Smaller Casks.  The Four Oak is a good example of that. It smells and tastes like a rush job. I don't think that Laphroaig is doing itself and the market a favour by releasing Single Malts like this. This is not the way to go. Laphroaig should not be a whisky that's kinda Peaty, kinda Light, kinda Watery and kinda okay.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Re-Visit Laphroaig Four Oak

About a month ago I received a full bottle of the Four Oak as a gift. It was bought at the Travel Retail Shop of the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. I opened the bottle and decided to give the Four Oak another chance. Here are my findings:

Nose:

Not much to add or subtract to my original findings. I think they're spot-on. I do find it a little less Dusty and I will add 0,5 points to the Nose accordingly.

Palate:

It's almost a Peat-flavored Gin. Okay, perhaps I'm exagerating a little but you get the picture. My notes of two years ago totally stand.

Finish:

Very Thin and the worst part of this Laphroaig. No reasons to change the score.

Conclusion:

The Laphroaig Four Oak deserved a second chance on account of the fact that sometimes you will find differences between samples and a full bottle. But that's not the case here. The Four Oak simply isn't a well-made Single Malt and I can't begin to understand why such a fine Distillery would launch a mediocre Malt like this if not out of necessity for lack of aged Spirit and good affordable casks. In any case I do believe that the Whisky Industry should not extensively enter this Road to Nowhere. I added half a point to the Nose so the final score of this Re-Visit is 78.5. And that's not something that Laphroaig should be proud of! 😠

Rating: 78.5 

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

Jan van den Ende                                                                         August 4, 2021 

Macallan Enigma


”Macallan Vs. Oakenfold”


Whisky Review # 922
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Macallan Enigma - Quest Collection
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottled 2017
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 44.9%
Maturation: First Fill European Oak Sherry-Seasoned Butts and Hogsheads from a single cooperage-partner, Tevasa in Jerez de la Fronteira
Chill Filtration: Probably
Price Range: US$ 240-360 (July 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Extremely expensive for a NAS Whisky
Buying Advice: 😃/😔 Well-made but very expensive Sherried Speysider. 

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Wafts of Sweet Oloroso and PX Sherry and Fresh European Wood are certainly the first impressions. Dark Fruit and Nuts lead the way in this reasonably Dry mix of Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Woody, Meaty and Spicy notes. The Alcohol is well-integrated. Very good cask management. It's a one-way Sherry street for sure but it's nicely done.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Bread, Demerara Sugar, Candied Orange Peel,  Dark (Dried) Fruit like Sultanas, Apricots, Plums, Prunes & Dates, Dark Chocolate, Mixed Nuts including Candied Almonds, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Yeast, Straw, Red Apple, Banana-Bread, Herbs, Strawberry flavored Yogurt, Peaches in Sour-Cream, Meat-Broth, Soy Sauce, Nutmeg, Pepper and Menthol.


Palate:

Medium-Dry and perhaps a little on the Thin side despite the adequate ABV. I think that an ABV of 47/48% would be even better in this case. On the Palate the casks take control and Dark (Dried) Fruit, Nuts, Spices and Oak lead the way. I quite like this mix of Sweet, Sour and mildly Bitter flavors with a nice Salty and slightly Meaty touch. 

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Dried Fruits such as Sultanas, Raisins, Apricots, Plums and Dates, Candied Orange, Candied Almonds, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Honey, Yeast, Straw, Red Apple, Banana Pie, slightly Sour Berries, Meat Broth and Herbs.


Finish:

Middle-Long, perhaps slightly on the Thin side and a mix of Sweet, Sour and mildly Bitter notes. Well-Balanced in this respect. Flavor-wise the Dried Fruit, Oak & Spice are back in force. A nice Salty touch as well. I find Toasted/Malted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Toffee, Honey, Straw, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Apricots, Plums and Dates, Red Apple, Candied Orange, Banana Bread, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Dusty Oak and a hint of Iron bars. Medium-Dry.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Macallan.

Rating: 86

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

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 Quest collection was launched in 2017/2018 to replace the 1824 Collection that consisted a.o. of Gold, Amber, Siena and Ruby. While these series focused on color, the new Quest collection that consists of Quest, Lumina, Terra and Enigma focuses on Oak. The Quest collection was initially launched on the Travel Retail market and does not bear an age-statement.

If you like well-made sherried Speysiders and you've got the cash, this Macallan will work out fine for you. It presents a nice combination of Sweet, Sour, slightly Bitter and Dusty notes with a touch of Salt. It's just a little too much on the Thin side to call it a total Sherry-Bomb though. A slightly higher ABV would have really done that trick in my opinion. If you're not into sherried whisky you should leave this one alone though as it's quite one-dimensional on Dried Fruit, Nuts, Spices and Oak. In any case I have to say that the price is really too high for a NAS Whisky despite the fact that good casks were used for this Enigma. And that's a pity 😞.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                              July 7, 2021

All Pictures Taken During Our Visit in May 2014

Glenallachie 15 Years


”A Bitter Pill to Swallow”


Whisky Review # 921
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenallachie
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Quite a mix. Specified below under Conclusion.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (June 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍Reasonably priced for a 15 Years
Buying Advice: 😐Neutral. It's not really bad but just not my thing!

Colour: Mahogany (Natural Color) - Very Dark Color

Nose:

A mix of Sweet and Sour notes. The Sherry influence is quite clear. Dark (Dried) Fruit, Fruit Candies & Nuts lead the way. In a blind tasting I probably wouldn't have given this Malt 15 Years. It's a little Thin despite the adequate ABV. I do believe there's some Fresh Oak in the cask-mix as well.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Bread, Brown Sugar, Nuts like Chestnuts and Walnuts, Dried Fruit like Plums, Prunes and Sultanas, Fruit-Flavored Candies like Apricot or Nectarine, Sour Red Grapes and Cherries, Herbal Tea, Dusty Casks, Wax, Orange-Flavored Chocolate, Straw, Tobacco Leaves, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Sweet Apple, Marzipan or Turkish Sweets, Dusty Track, Green Plants and/or Vegetables, Floral Soap, Leather, Curry, Pepper and Cardamom. A hint of Snickers candy bars.


Palate:

Again a little on the Thin side. It basically follows the Nose but the Sweet and Sour notes are now accompanied by an increasing and slightly Harsh Bitterness. It tastes a little Dirty and I could imagine the middle cut to be run a bit shorter. Again, Dried Dark Fruit, Nuts and Spices lead the way.

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dark (Dried) Fruit like Prunes, Plums, Sultanas and Dates, Orange-Flavored Dark Chocolate, slightly Sour Cherries and Red Grapes, Chestnuts and Walnuts, Herbal Tea, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Butterscotch, Sweet Apple, Tobacco Leaves, Leather, Espresso, Wax, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Soy Sauce and Ashes.

Finish:

Middle-Long. A mix of Sweet and Sour notes with increasing Bitterness towards the rather Dry end. The Finish is quite Spicy and even a bit Hot. I find Malted/Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Dates and Sultanas, slightly Sour Cherries and Red Grapes, Orange-Flavored Bitter Chocolate, Bitter Espresso, Herbal Tea, Tobacco Leaves, Chestnuts and Walnuts, Wood Polish, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Cardamom, Ash, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water further develops the Dried Dark Forest Fruits on the Nose. I do not detect any other additional value so I personnally prefer it neat.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Okay/Good. Not really my type of Whisky. 

Conclusion:

The Glenallachie Distillery is quite new and was founded only in 1967. It is located on a hill above Aberlour, close to Ben Rinnes. It closed from 1987 to 1989 when it was purchased by Pernod Ricard who in turn sold it to The Glenallachie Distillers Company in 2017. Most of the Spirit disappeared in Blends like Clan Campbell, House of Lords, White Heather & Chivas Regal until 2018. At that time a core range was launched by the new owners including the 10 Years CS, the 15, the 18 and the 25. The 15 Years was actually added to the core range in September 2019.

The 15 Years is a marriage of various casks. Some 100% Sherry Matured, Some 100% Sherry Matured although re-racked into new PX & Oloroso Hogsheads and Puncheons and finally some 2nd Fill Bourbon casks also re-racked in PX & Oloroso casks. All spirit that was re-racked matured in the new casks for anything between 18 months and two years.

I suppose that Sherry-Bomb lovers might find this Glenallachie to be an affordable alternative. But I can't say I really like this Whisky. Because there is a sort of Dirty and Bitter over-sherried almost artificial feel to this Glenallachie. Not the good dirty quality of say Springbank or Ledaig mind you. Because that's an asset. In this case it's a liability. I'm not saying this is a bad Single Malt but it's not my kinda Whisky. Happy I only bought a sample!    

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 30, 2021

Aberlour 12 Years Double Cask Matured


”Back To Life (Back To Reality)”


Whisky Review # 919
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Aberlour Double Cask Matured
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Vatting of American Oak and Seasoned Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 38-45 (June 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay for a 12 Year-old Single Malt.
Buying Advice: 👎Save a little more and go for the A'Bunadh.

Colour: Deep Gold (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

After last week's characterful Glen Elgin, we are back in Mainstream Malt territory with this Aberlour. The Nose is not bad mind you but quite predictable. The Sherry Wood is noticeable but certainly not overpowering. There is actually a nice balance between the two cask types used on the Nose. Buttery Fruit Cake, Toffee, Yeast and Nougat are the main drivers. The Nose is mainly Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttery Fruit Cake, Toffee, Apple-Pie filled with Raisins and Sultanas, Apricot-Filled Puff Pastry, Yeast, Dough, Nougat, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Marzipan, Lemon, Grapefruit, Banana, Nectarine, Fresh Herbs, Dusty Track, Cocoa Powder and Mint. A distant hint of Leather.


Palate:

Rather disappointing after the pleasant Nose. Indifferent Cask Management spells trouble in palate-paradise though. The Palate is Thin and a bit Raw and Edgy. It presents a mix of Sugary Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Spicy notes. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. You don't have to wake me up for this Aberlour!

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Grass, Sweet Apple, Banana, Nougat, Raisins, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Caramel, Honey, Wax, Buttery Puff Pastry, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit and Lemon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Artificially Flavored Tutti-Frutti Bubble Gum.


Finish:

Short/Middle-Long, Thin, Edgy and a little Hot. Easily the worst part of this Malt. There were quite some, if not all, Refill casks in the mix here. The Finish is a mix of Sugary Sweet, Sour and light Bitter notes. This Finish does not invite you to have another sip actually which is a pity after the simple but quite acceptable Nose. I find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Honey, Wax, Sweet Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Seville-Orange, Fruitcake, Nougat, Grass, Herbal Tea, Charred Oak, Cocoa Powder, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Mint, PVC Pipe and Aniseed or perhaps Mint.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Aberlour. It's Thin enough as presented.

Rating: 79.5

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19  - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay at best. The Nose is the better part.

Conclusion:

The Aberlour distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming and is located in the little village of the same name in Banffshire, Speyside. Since 2001 it is owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard). The capacity of Aberlour is around 3,8 million litres per year. The core range includes the 12, 16 and 18 Years as well as the A'Bunadh and the Casg Annamh.

Back to Life (Back to Reality) with this Aberlour. The Nose is okay but the rest is not at all interesting and shows exactly all the problems that I have with the current Mainstream Malt Madness. Indifferent Cask Management leaves the Spirit without character and the low ABV does not help either to bring out the Flavors & Aromas. Today unfortunately this type of standard Single Malt is the rule rather than the exception. Mediocre and Forgettable. A waste of time and resources! If you are considering to buy an Aberlour Single Malt go for their A'Bunadh series. That's honest Whisky for a reasonable price.  

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 16, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Glen Elgin 18 Years


”Glen Elegant”


Whisky Review # 918

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Elgin
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Distilled 1998 - Bottled 2016
Age: 18 Years - Diageo Special Limited Release -  5352 Bottles
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.8% (On or Near Cask Strength)
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bodega Sherried Butts and Refill European Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 280-400 (June 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Ridiculously overpriced
Buying Advice: 😋Well-made, Elegant and Delicious. If you have the $, go for it!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

Quite Fresh and Vibrant. It doesn't open up very easy so please give it some time in the glass before Nosing. A nice mix of Fruity, Floral, Dairy and Green notes. It's Sweet but in a nice way. The Sherry influence is there but more of the Fino type. I don't use the word too often but this is a Nose I consider to be Elegant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Cake, Fresh Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Green Apple, Tangerine, Bounty Candy Bars, slightly Dusty Wood, Marzipan and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Butterscotch, Yeast, Dough, Banana Ice-Cream, Fresh Herbs, Dusty Track, Salted Peanuts, Lemon, Floral Perfume, Polished Leather Upholstery and the faintest hint of Smoke.


Palate:

The Palate shows more muscles and Spice than the Nose would lead you to believe. The 54.8 percent Alcohol makes itself known as well. Still, it's so much better than the Mainstream Malt Madness I am tasting most of the time. The Palate reminds me of a Buttery Cake with Cream and lots of Sweet and Sour Fruits. I like it!

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Apricot-Filled Buttered Puff Pastry, Grass and Straw, Bounty Candy Bars, Grapefruit, Orange, Tangerine, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Demerara Sugar, Nougat, Candied Almonds, Wax, Tea with Milk Cream, Fresh Herbs, Pear Juice, Dusty Oak and Polished Leather Upholstery.
  
Finish:

Middle-Long. A mix of Spices, Sweet & Sour Fruit. Creamy & Sweet in the beginning but a bit more Sour and Waxy towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point but there's quality in this Finish. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Heather Honey, Nougat, Green Apple, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Tangerine, Wax, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Mint, Aniseed, Dusty Oak and Floral Perfume. Again this very faint hint of Smoke.  

Drinking Advice:

With a little Water you enter a Bakery shop early in the morning when the Bread is freshly made. Lots of Citrus Fruit as well. Palate and Finish do not change a lot but you manage the Alcohol this way. I like it both ways.

Rating: 88.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Nice!

Conclusion:

The Glen Elgin distillery is located four miles south of Elgin in the small village of Fogwatt close to the A 941. It was founded in 1898 by James Carle and William Simpson. It had its ups and downs but was finally bought by DCL in 1930. Today it's part of the Diageo Group and became one of their Classic Malts range in 2005. Most of the Spirit is destined for Blends. The only official bottlings are the 12 Years and the limited 18 Years Edition I'm reviewing today that was released in 2017.

This Glen Elgin is actually a Blend of two 18 Year-Old Single Malts, both distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2016. The first one matured in Refill European Oak Butts and used a common Yeast strain. The second one, matured in Ex-Bodega Sherry casks, used the aromatic Pombe Yeast, normally applied to selected Beers and Rums.

What a great Single Malt! Ridiculously overpriced but That's the Way of Diageo's World unfortunately. Elegant and Soft on the Nose but Spicy and Powerful on the Palate and in the Finish. A nice mix of Sweet and Sour Fruit with lots of nice Bakery impressions as well. A pity that most of Glen Elgin's production disappears in the endless Sea of Blends. It certainly deserves a place on the Single Malt market. Come on Diageo, give it a go! How about a 15 and 18 years with a decent ABV and good Cask management to accompany the existing 12 Year Old! Whisky fans would love it!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 9, 2021

Jura 18 Years


”Theme From The Deer Hunter”


Whisky Review # 916

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years - Travel Retail Edition
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 42%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask with Red Wine Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-90 (May 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay at US$ 60 given its age.
Buying Advice: 👎Not Good Enough for an 18 Year Old Single Malt.

Colour:

Golden Amber with Shades of Red (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

On the Thin side, slightly peculiar for an 18 Years. The Bourbon casks can't have been very active and that might explain the "necessity" of a Short Red Wine Finish. I only get a little of the traditional Jura Baby Vomit but the Nose, although basically Sweet, does offer some slightly Musty and Funky notes, as well as a bit of Sourness. Red Fruit, Dried Fruits and Caramel are the main drivers.

Main Aromas:

Dusty Barley, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Rum-Soaked Raisins, Apricots & Plums, Red Fruit like Grapes, Blackberries and Blackcurrants, Citrus Peel, Sour Gooseberries, Dusty Track, Cinnamon and Green Coffee Beans.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Green - & Cooked Vegetables, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Grass & Straw, Green Apple, Wet Stones, Green Tobacco, Leather, Charred Oak and Dried Herbs.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and again on the Thin side. You simply would expect more from a well-matured 18 Year old Single Malt. The casks are mainly to blame but I never was a real fan of their New Make Spirit either. It just doesn't click with Jura. We visited the distillery back in May 2014 and it was a really nice visit. Still...

Main Flavours:

Musty Grain, Caramel, Sour Red Fruit like Berries, Grapes & Cherries, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Oak Char, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots & Dates, Cinnamon, Pepper and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Lemon Drops, Green Apple, Grass and Straw, Green Veggies, Dusty Track, Green Apple, Tobacco and Herbal Tea.


Finish:

Middle-Long & Bitter-Sweet with increasing Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end. The Alcohol is noticeable and the feeling of 3rd and/or 4th refill casks does not go away. I get Musty Grain, Caramel, Honey, Grass & Straw, Nougat, Brown Sugar, Green Veggies, Green Coffee Beans, Charred Oak, Sour Red and Yellow Berries, Lemon Drops, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Cinnamon and Pepper.

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

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Conclusion:

Jura means Deer Island. The Distillery is located in the small village of Craighouse the island's "capital". Craighouse lies on the A 846, some eight miles from the Ferry Terminal to Islay. It was founded in 1810 and since 1993 it belongs to Whyte & Mackay Ltd. Jura is mostly known as a Single Malt but it's also a very important part of the Whyte & Mackay Special Blend. The Distillery possesses 1 Stainless Steel Semi Lauter Mash Tun, six stainless steel Wash Backs and two Pairs of Stills. In 2020 their total production amounted to around 2,1 million litres. The following Single Malts are part of the new core range introduced during 2018: Journey, Seven Wood, 10, 12 and 18 Years (44%).

Jura means Deer Island and I feel like the Deer Hunter sometimes as I don't get myself to really enjoy the Jura Single Malts. It's difficult to exactly put my finger on the sore spots but the kind of "dirty" New Make Spirit and the indifferent Cask management are certainly two of my main issues. And I can add market strategy as well. Though Jura whiskies are readily available all over the world and flock Travel Retail shops I can't imagine many first time customers gladly come back for a Refill next time around. But maybe I'm wrong and maybe it's just me. In any case this 18 years does nothing to revive my feelings for this distillery. It's Weak and Thin and although there are no real off-notes around this time I can't find any pleasure when sipping this Single Malt. I'm sorry Jura but that's how I feel.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           May 26, 2021

Pictures taken during our visit in May 2014

Balblair 15 Years


”I Go To Sleep”


Whisky Review # 915

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Balblair
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in First Fill Spanish Oak butts.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 70-85 (May 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay, considering its age. 
Buying Advice: 😔Okay for new Whisky fans. Slightly Boring for the advanced.

Colour: Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

I wonder if there's some New Oak involved in the maturation because I get a light Varnish note that is quite typical for that kind of wood. Other than that the Nose is mainly composed of Cereals, Caramel, (Dried) Fruits and Spices. Not bad but quite mainstream i.e. slightly boring. The Sherry influence is limited, yet noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Apricots and Apples, Citrus Peel, Nutmeg and Cinnamon.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Nuts, Marzipan, Charred Oak and Sawdust, Grass, Dusty Track, Caffe Latte, Dark Berries and Cherries, Banana Ice Cream, Dried and Fresh Herbs like Mint and Parsley, Pepper, Ginger and Cardamom. A distant hint of Leather-made Shoes.
 

Palate:

In line with the Nose. Mainly Sweet but with a few mildly Bitter and Sour notes as well. Medium-Dry. Some of the Dusty & Sour notes suggest that not all casks used were of the best possible quality. There's nothing terribly wrong with this Balblair but I had to fight some serious yawning during the Tasting session. The Alcohol is not totally incorporated by the way. The general mouthfeel is slightly Thin.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots, Plums and Prunes, Red Berries, slightly Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Orange, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Demerara Sugar, Marzipan, Nuts, Dusty Track, Oak Char, Sawdust, Grapefruit, Lemon, Cocoa Powder, Dried & Fresh Herbs like Mint and Parsley, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves & Cardamom. Distant hints of Tobacco & Leather.

Finish:

Middle-Long. Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour and light Bitter notes towards the Medium-Dry end. A mild Alcohol bite. I find Malted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Butter, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Dusty Track, Nuts, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Mint and that distant hint of Leather again.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve the taste and Finish of this Balblair. On the Nose however the Malt notes deepen and the Buttery feeling increases. A few drops can't hurt but don't overdo it.

Rating: 84.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good

Conclusion:

Balblair is located in Edderton (Tain) and is one of the oldest Scottish distilleries. It was founded in 1790. Since 1996 it is owned by Inver House Distillers, a part of the Thai Beverages PLC. In 2007 the entire range was relaunched on the basis of Vintages instead of Age Statements. Glenrothes did this as well. But this changed again in 2019 and a new Age-Statement core range was launched with the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years. The Spirit is also used in Blends like Hankey Bannister and Inver House. The visitor centre was only opened in 2012. We visited this great looking distillery in May 2017 and did a very nice tour. Extra attention is paid to the fact the distillery was part of the set for the movie "The Angels Share" released in 2012. The distillery produces around 1.5 million litres of Spirit per year.

The Balblair 15 Years is one of those Single Malts that, while certainly not bad, does not arouse any feelings with me. If I would have bought a full bottle and would have finished it, I probably would have said: Well, okay. But I didn't buy a full bottle and I'm not going to as well. It's okay and inoffensive for beginning whisky fans but it's too Mainstream and boring for me. This could have been so much better with 100% quality casks! You can do better Balblair!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           May 19, 2021

All Pictures taken during our visit in May 2017