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

Aberlour Casg Annamh


”The Candy Man”


Whisky Review # 946

Country: Scotland

Region: Speyside
Brand: Aberlour Casg Annamh - Batch 5
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay at around US$ 45
Buying Advice: 👎 Better avoid this one and stay with the A'Bunadh 

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Aberlour a bit of time in the glass before Nosing. It helps to calm down the initial waft of Varnish that greets the Nose. The influence of the Sherried Casks is there but it's not at all overwhelming. The Nose is basically Sweet with lots of Orange and Dried Fruit. A few Sour notes help to balance things out. The Alcohol is noticeable. The Nose feels Young but is okay though nothing special. The Fruity notes are a bit Artificial and remind me more of Fruit-Flavored Candies with the exception of the Orange note.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Apricots and Raisins, Orange, slightly Sour Red Berries, Maraschino Cherries, Yeast, Dusty Oak, Ginger, Cinnamon and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Brown Sugar, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Lemon, Banana, Glue, Nougat, Varnish, Forest Floor, Dry Earth, Tobacco and Pepper.


Palate:

Young, Medium-Dry and Slightly Hot. Mostly Sweet but with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is really noticeable. The Fruit notes are even more Artificial than on the Nose unfortunately. I'm not impressed with this Casg Annamh.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Artificially Flavored Candies (Cherry, Apple, Strawberry, Raspberry, Pear, Banana), Orange, Nectarine, Yeast, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Licorice, Menthol and Dusty Oak.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Lemon, Nougat, Grass, Varnish, Milk Chocolate, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Dusty Track and hints of Metal Pipes.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Young, Spicy and slightly Hot. Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour and Bitter notes as well. Medium-Dry towards the end. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Honey, Caramel, Vanilla, Artificially Flavored Candies (Strawberry, Apple, Raspberry, Cherry, Pear) Orange, Lemon, Nectarine, Varnish, Yeast, Milk Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Grass, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol. After a while i get a very strong note of Tutti Frutti Bubblegum.

Drinking Advice:

With added Water it becomes even more Edgy and Artificial. A couple of drops to ease the Alcohol perhaps but no more!

Rating: 82

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. Nothing special

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.

Casg Annamh means Rare Cask in Gaelish. It matured in a mix of European Oak Ex- Oloroso Sherry Casks and two types of American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks.

I'm not impressed with this Aberlour expression. It's not really bad but it's Young, Hot and even a little on the Thin side despite the more than adequate ABV. In fact the Alcohol is noticeable throughout the Nosing and Tasting procedures. What most bothers me though is the Artificiality of the Fruit notes. A bit irritating even. So if you like Aberlour, avoid this one and stay true to the A'Bunadh series that still offer the best this distillery has to offer IMHO and at somewhat affordable prices. There's simply nothing Rare about this Casg Annamh! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 10, 2022

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Highland Park Full Volume


”The Rain, The Highland Park and Other Things” 

Whisky Review # 945

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Full Volume - Limited Edition - 481 Casks
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: Distilled from March to September 1999 - Bottled 2017 - Around 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 47.2%
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks (Mix of Barrels and Hogsheads)
Filtration: Filtered at 4 Degrees Celsius
Price Range: US$ 85-125 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay at around US$ 80. I wouln't pay more though!
Buying Advice: 😐 Better go for the standard 18 Years

Colour:

Pale Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Highland Park Malt usually matures in Sherried Wood so it would be extremely hard to recognize this Full Volume as HP in a Blind Tasting. The Ex-Bourbon casks would probably lead you in the false direction of a lightly Peated Highland Malt. Which is not necessarily a bad thing of course. The strong Vanilla & Fruit notes and the hints of Wax and Varnish confirm the 1st Fill quality of the casks. The Nose is mostly Sweet but a few Sour notes provide balance. The (Peat) Smoke is a mere after- thought but it does give an extra dimension to the Full Volume. It's not a great Nose but it's pleasant and confy. The Alcohol is noticeable but not in a nasty way. To be honest I would give it less than 17 years.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Salted Nuts, Grass and Straw, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Toasted Oak, Cinnamon and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Wax, Glue, Yeast, Banana, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Coconut, Green Mango, Marzipan, Green Leaves, Wet Forest Floor, Wet Stones, Earthy Peat, Tobacco, Cold Cigar Smoke, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.


Palate:

The Palate tries to follow the Nose and while the basis elements are still there they are presented in a slightly less harmonious way. It's even a little Edgy, Dirty and Hot at times. Sweet & Sour notes still prevail but a light Bitterness pops up around the corner. How many times Highland Park Malts have disappointed me on the Palate. A pity!

Main Flavours:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Orange, Banana, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Grass & Straw, Dusty Track, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Yeast, Wax, Bounty Bars, Nectarine, Mango, Salted Nuts, Herbal Tea, Earthy Peat, Cigar Smoke, Soot, Wet Stones, Nutmeg, Ginger and Tobacco.


Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet and Sour at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. It's a little Thin despite the sufficient ABV. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Bounty Bar, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Orange, Lemon, Banana, Toasted Oak, Wax, Resin, Yeast, Hay and Grass, Herbal Tea, Dusty Track, Cocoa Powder, Tobacco, Dusty Peat, Cigar Smoke, Soot, Wet Cardboard, Wet Rocks, Tobacco, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves & Menthol. The Alcohol is much more present at this point.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Highland Park.

Rating: 84 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but nothing special

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson. It is located in the small town of Kirkwall on the isle of Orkney. Orkney is still quite strongly influenced by its Viking past & the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.5 million litres of Alcohol & is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range basically consists of the 10 (Viking Scars), the 12 (Viking Honour), the 15 (Viking Heart), the 18 (Viking Pride), the 21, 25, 30 and 40 years, Cask Strength, Dragon Legend & Viking Tribe.

We visited Highland Park in May 2019 and I thoroughly enjoyed the visit despite the terrible weather. Orkney is a special place and I understand the tradition and the bond with the Viking ancestors. It's such a pity that the distillery regularly distorts this picture with mediocre, expensive "Cult" Single Malts based on that theme.

The Full Volume was launched in 2017. Both radios and whiskies have to be tuned to produce the best sound and taste. But once again I think that the Highland Park commercial department exaggerates with the concept of the Full Volume. Both the name and the "threatening" Black Bottle and Packaging suggest a very strong and unforgiving Single Malt. But the opposite is the case. The Nose, although pleasant, is affable but not powerful. And the slightly Edgy and Hot Palate and Finish do not spell fine-tuning in my opinion. Once again suggestion and reality are two different things. I can't await the day that Highland Park simply decides to make good Malt Whisky without all the (Viking) bells and whistles.

While I was writing this review it started to rain and I was already looking forward to watch the Moto GP training in Jerez in Spain. Hence the title of this review. It's a funny coincidence by the way that the motor races are in Jerez and I'm reviewing a HP that matured in Ex-Bourbon casks 😀.  

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                             May 3, 2022

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Jura 21 Years


”Theme From The Deer Island”


Whisky Review # 941

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 44%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 120-150  (April 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay for a 21 Year old Single Malt
Buying Advice: 😌 Finally a Jura I can recommend. A must if you like Jura!

Colour:

Dark Amber with notes of Orange and Brown (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

One of the things I often find when nosing Jura whisky are Cooked Vegetables and/ or Potatoes. They are here as well but rather as an afterthought. The Nose of the 21 years is not too bad although uneventful. The Sherry casks provide Dried Fruits and Nougat and some slightly Dirty, Earthy notes as well. The Nose is mostly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, slightly Sour Red Berries, Chocolate Milk, Nougat, Citrus Peel, Dusty Casks, Starch, Espresso, Salt and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Dough, Puff Pastry filled with sugary chopped Dates, Dried Herbs, Red Apple, Nuts, Leather, Tobacco, Forest Floor, Wet Rocks, Oak Char, Mint, Cinnamon, Cloves and Licorice. Very distant hints of Cooked Vegetables & Varnish.
   

Palate:

Agreeable and predictable on the Palate. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. It's a little Thin. An ABV of 46-48% would have been more adequate. But it's certainly one of the better Jura's I've tasted so far. The Palate basically follows the Nose with Dried Fruit, Dark Chocolate, Spices and slightly Bitter Oak in the lead.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Dates and Apricots, Sour Berries like Raspberry and Gooseberry, Orange Peel, Dark Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Dusty Oak, Nougat, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Wax, Dough, Grass and Straw, Tobacco, Leather, Dirt Track, Wet Rocks and Sand, Floral Soap, Cloves, Aniseed, Mint, Cardamom & Peanuts.


Finish:

Middle-Long. A mixture of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Quite Dry towards the end. The Bitter cask notes are a bit too present for my liking. I find Toasted Barley, Salty Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Bitter Oak, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums & Apricots, Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Nougat, Honey, Nuts, Sour Apples, Grapefruit, Dusty Oak Casks, Dirty Track, Dried Herbs, Wet Rocks and Sand, Leather, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Mint and strong Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Jura.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

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 2021 their total production amounted to around 2,4 million litres. The following Single Malts are part of the new core range introduced during 2018: Journey, Seven Wood, 10, 12, 18 and 21 Years (Tide).

Jura is not one of my favorite distilleries but this 21 Year old is certainly better than most expressions I had so far. It has no real off-notes although the Bitterness on the finish is a bit of a letdown. But other than that it's enjoyable though predictable. I wouldn't buy a full bottle but if you're a fan of this distillery you should certainly try the 21 Years if you can find it. When in doubt, buy a sample first! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            April 6, 2022

Pictures taken during our visit in May 2014

AnCnoc 24 Years


”AnCnoc On Wood”


Whisky Review # 939

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: AnCnoc
Distilled at: Knockdhu
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 24 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherry-Seasoned European Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 140-180 (March 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Okay given its age.  
Buying Advice: 😐 A bit predictable. Nice alternative if you like Glengoyne.   

Colour: Dark Amber with hints of Brown and Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Sherry notes are clear but certainly not overwhelming. There's a hint of Varnish but it disappears quickly. The Nose is a pleasant and Fruity mix of Sweet and Sour notes. There's Oak of course but you wouldn't give it 24 Years in a blind tasting. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Figs, Dates, Sultanas, Plums and Apricots, Nuts, Orange, Sweet Apples, Dusty Casks, Polished Leather Upholstery, Tobacco, Mixed Chocolate, Peaches in Heavy Syrup, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mint and Aniseed.      
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Caramel, Wax, Glue, Honey, Lemon, Pear, Gooseberry, Dusty Track, Dried Herbs, Grass and Straw, Floral Perfume, Old Cedar Wood, Dusty Old Books, Toasted Pineapple, Cloves and Cardamom.     



Palate:

A mix of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Wood and Alcohol are more noticeable now. Quite Dry. This AnCnoc is well-made but predictable and misses the Wow factor. It's a little on the Thin side considering its age. The Palate is also driven by the Dried Fruit notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Raisins, Figs, Dates, Apricots and Plums), Orange, Sweet Apple, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Polished Leather, Dusty Charred Casks, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Menthol, Aniseed and Licorice.            

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Sour Cherries, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pear, Straw, Floral Perfume, Herbal Tea, Forest Floor, Cloves, Nutmeg and Espresso.
     

Finish
:


Middle-Long. A mix of Sweet, Sour & Bitter notes. The Oak is more noticeable here and so is the Alcohol. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Toasted and Malted Barley, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Butter, Dried Fruit such as Plums, Dates, Raisins and Sultanas, Orange, Sweet Apple, Pear, Lemon, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Mixed Nuts, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Dusty Earth, Herbal Tea, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Straw, Salty Peanut Butter, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Aniseed and Menthol.  

Drinking Advice:

Added Water enhances the Fruit on the Nose but it also takes out the edge of the Palate and slightly spoils the Finish. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it. I prefer to enjoy it neat.

Rating: 87 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Knockdhu distillery was founded in 1893 by DCL in the little village of Knock very close to Huntly (Aberdeenshire). It was mothballed in 1983 but reopened in 1989. Until 1993 the whisky was called Knockdhu but the owners decided to rename it to AnCnoc avoiding a possible confusion with the whisky produced at Knockando, a Diageo distillery in Speyside. The new owners are Inver House Distillers, part of Thai Beverages PLC. The beautiful distillery currently produces 1.8 million litres of Alcohol per year. The core range includes the 12, 18 & 24 years and the Peatheart.

The 24 Years was introduced in 2015. It's slightly better and more mature than the 18 Years but the latter one has a better Price/Quality ratio. Both are sherried Highlanders without being Sherry-bombs. Both are well-made & present a pleasant nose. On the Palate they are quite predictable with Dried Fruit, Wood and Wood Spices. I would always accept a dram of either one of them but would hesitate to buy a full bottle despite the acceptable price level. But if you like Glengoyne and the likes you should certainly give AnCnoc the benefit of the doubt.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        March 23, 2022

Balblair 18 Years



”It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”


Whisky Review # 938

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Balblair
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks with Finish in 1st Fill Spanish Oak Sherried Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 140 (December 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral. It's an acceptable Malt but quite Mainstream. 

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

This is actually quite similar to the 15 Years I tasted earlier this year in May. The light Varnish note is there again suggesting that some Fresh or Refreshed Wood was used during maturation. The Nose is okay but quite uneventful with some Cereals, Caramel, Dried Fruit and Spices. A clear Buttery note can be found as well as some Sherry accents although the Sherry cask influence is certainly not overwhelming. The Alcohol is not completely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Sultanas, Plums and Prunes, Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Grass & Hay, Citrus Peel, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Fresh Cut Wood, Nutmeg and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Red Berries, Sweet Apple, Nectarine, Peach, Nougat, Dusty Track, Herbs like Parsley and Mint, Caffe Latte, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Tobacco, Varnish, Licorice and Leather.
 

Palate:

The delivery is slightly Thin despite the adequate ABV. The mouthfeel is Creamy & Medium-Dry. It's mainly Sweet but a few Bitter and Sour notes provide the needed balance. It's not bad but quite mainstream and slightly boring.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, Plums & Prunes, Citrus Fruit (Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon), Charred Oak, Herbs like Parsley and Mint, Charred Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Tobacco.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

German Butter Biscuits, Honey, Nougat, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Nectarine, Red Apple, Dusty Track, Fresh Wood, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Cocoa and Leather.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Medium-Dry. It's mainly Sweet but a few Bitter and Sour notes are to be found as well. The three extra years in the cask have created a slightly more rounded feeling. I find Malted & Toasted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, German Butter Biscuits, Charred Oak, Fresh Wood, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Prunes, Apricots and Plums, Nougat, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Red Apple, Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit), Nectarine, Cocoa Powder, Dusty Track, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Menthol and hints of Espresso, Peanut Butter and Leather.


Drinking Advice:

I prefer it neat but you can carefully add a few drops of Water. Don't overdo it as Wood and Wood Spice will take control.

Rating: 85.5

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

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 2006 it is owned by International Beverage Holdings. 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 18 Years is not a bad Single Malt and it's a slight improvement over the 15 Years. It's certainly accessible and it will please many a Palate. For me personally it's too mainstream though and I can't get excited about it. I simply miss the "Wow" factor and at this price level I need that. It was exactly at this moment that I heard Whitney Houston on my stereo and her song sums it up quite nicely. "It's Not Right But It's Okay"

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     December 1, 2021

All Pictures taken during our visit in May 2017

Longrow 18 Years (2013 Release 13/184)



”Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine”


Whisky Review # 936

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Longrow 2013 Release - Bottlecode: 13/184
Distilled at: Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown in 1995/1996
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottled in 2013  - Bottles: 4500
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: 2nd-Fill Ex-Sherry Casks (60%) and 1st Fill Ex Bourbon casks (40%)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-250 (November 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay at 150 US$. I wouldn't pay more though!
Buying Advice: 😛 One of those guilty pleasures to be enjoyed once in a while!

Colour: Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

Nice and slightly Dirty. Just the way I like it. The Sherry Cask influence is quite clear and I do get a few burnt matches as well. The Peat and Smoke are quite subtle and remain in the background. The Nose is a mix of Sweet, Sour, Salty and Musty notes with a good amount of (Dried) Fruit and Herbs. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not bother the Nosing procedures.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Malt, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Toffee, Heather-Honey, Fresh & Dried Herbs, Citrus Fruit like Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange & Mandarin, Cooked Apple, Dark Berries, Musty Charred Oak, Dusty Old Book Shelves, Dunnage Warehouse, Vegetable Oil, Nougat, Pepper, Aniseed, Mint and Licorice.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Cold Cigar Smoke, Forrest Floor, Dusty Track, Mixture of Straw & Cow Manure, Wood Polish, Wet Rocks, Brine, Hospital, Ashes, Burnt Marshmallow and Matches, Leather, Cheese, Pine Needles, PVC Pipes, Rubber, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Apricot-Flavored Yogurt and Ginger. Once in a while I get a distant hint of Banana Ice Cream.


Palate:

The delivery is Oily but slightly on the Thin side. This is certainly not your average mainstream Malt and it might be a bit of an acquired taste for many people. It's Dirty as Springbank should be but rather in a weird kind of way this time. There's lots of Sweet, Bitter, Salty, Sour and Musty Flavors to discover but some are less conventional. Imagine an old dusty Sherry Cask filled with a witchy mix of Herbal Tea, Cough Syrup, Slivovitz, Orange Liqueur, Plastic, Rubber, Gasoline, Peated Brine and Wall-Paper Starch that matures for 18 Years. That's about it! Still kinda like it though but it's certainly not my favorite Longrow.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Wax, Cough Syrup, Brine, Herbal Tea, Aspartame, Mint-Flavored Bitter Chocolate, Old Books on Dusty Shelves, Vegetable Oil, Dusty Extra-Charred casks in a Dunnage Warehouse, Mint, Licorice, Pepper, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Cold Cigar Smoke, Dirty Earthy Peat, Hospital, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Mix of Cow Manure and Straw, Wet Rocks, Salted Bacon, Citrus Fruit like Orange, Grapefruit & Lemon, Slivovitz, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Sultanas and Figs, Mixed Nuts, Mustard, Tobacco, Leather, Plastic, Cooked Apples, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Espresso.   
  
     

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Salty and Sour notes as well. This might not be for everyone. It reminds me of a mix of Orange Liqueur, Slivovitz, Plastic and Wall-Paper Starch. There's nothing Main-Stream about this Longrow, that's for sure! Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Malt, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Pine, Salted Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Cold Smoke, Dirty Peat, Cigar Ashes, Soot & Tar, Brine, Hospital, Citrus Fruit like Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit, Slivovitz, Dusty  casks maturing in a Dunnage Warehouse, Dark Berries, Sultanas, Herbs, Licorice, Pepper, Ginger, Leather, Tobacco, Rubber, Plastic, Aspartame, Mint-Flavored Bitter Chocolate, Salted Bacon, Cloves and Espresso. The Alcohol is noticeable but it stays within limits.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that mellows down this Longrow. I can imagine that many people would prefer it this way. You practically sacrifice the Finish though. You can certainly add a few drops but personally I prefer it neat.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Weird but still Good

Conclusion:

The Longrow peated Single Malt is produced at the Springbank Distillery. In 1973, Springbank started a project that would try to produce a peated Islay type of whisky on the Scottish mainland. The name of the project was Longrow, named after the old Longrow distillery that was located close to Springbank. In 1990 the first peated Longrow appeared on the market. The Longrow Malts are dried for 48 hours over peat smoke. In 2021 Springbank will produce 280.000 litres of which some 30.000 are destined for Longrow.

You can call this Longrow strange, weird, off-balance, dirty and musty. But you can't call it mainstream and that's a plus in my books. Beginning whisky drinkers might not like this Malt as it's a bit of an acquired taste but I find it interesting although it's certainly not my favorite Longrow. That award would go to the Longrow 11 Years Cabernet-Sauvignon Finish. Springbank is one of my favorite distilleries but once in a while you will encounter "Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine" as the Doors said in the sixties. And that's the perfect description for this 18 Year-old Longrow.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  November 101, 2021

Oban 21 Years (Special Release 2018)


”For What It’s Worth”


Whisky Review # 934

Country: Scotland

Region: Western Highlands
Brand: Oban - Special Release 2018 - Distilled in 1996- Bottled 2018 - 2860 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.9% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Mix of Re-Charred American Oak & Re-Fill European Ex-Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 700 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😡Ridiculously Overpriced!
Buying Advice: 👎It's not worth the money. You better buy ten bottles of the 14Y

Color: Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

The Nose is rather shy. Be sure to give it at least half an hour to open up. Even so, the Aromas don't jump out of the glass. The casks weren't extremely active and I wouldn't give it 21 Years in a Blind Tasting. The Nose is mainly driven by Fruit and Green notes. But those are interwoven with a fine coastal cloud and that works out fine. The Alcohol is there but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures. The Nose is pleasant but a bit unassuming and that's a pity.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Wax, Green Leaves, Vegetables and Apples, Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Sweet Earthy Peat, Brine, Tar, Smoke, Charred Oak, Ginger, Cinnamon, Menthol and Dusty Shelves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Yeast, Fruitcake, Marzipan, Nectarine, Dried Fruit like Apricots and Plums, Wet Rocks and Sand, White Chocolate, Caffe Latte, Green Olives, Smoked Pork Chops and mixed Nuts.


Palate:

Quite Edgy and Nervous when compared to the introvert Nose. Slightly Hot as well.  The Alcohol is very noticeable at this point. The Palate presents a mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour and Salty notes and I miss balance here. It's a bit Rough and Dirty.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Wax, Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Oak Char, Green Coconut, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Brine, Apple Beignets, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Dark Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Raspberry Jam, Menthol, Aniseed and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Toffee, Yeast, Melon, Dried Apricot, Nougat, Mixed Nuts, Caffe Latte, Tobacco, Cardamom, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Medium Long, Bitter-Sweet, quite Hot and slightly Acid. Quite Dry towards the end. The Alcohol is overpowering and some Water will be required. I find Sweet Toasted and Malted Barley, Wax, Salted Caramel, Honey, Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Green Apple, Grass, Dark Chocolate, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Mixed Salted Nuts, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cardamom, Ginger, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Licorice, Leather, Herbal Tea and Menthol. A distant hint of PVC Pipes.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and while it naturally helps to calm down the Alcohol, it also hides most of the Aromas and Flavours leaving you with a feeling that's not unlike brushing your teeth with Colgate Spearmint. I prefer it neat but add only a few drops of Water if you must.

Rating: 84.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

The Oban (Gaelic: Little Bay) distillery is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland and was founded in 1794. It is located in the seaport of the same name on the frontier between the Western Highlands & the Isles. This is where Peat and Heather meet Salt and Seaweed! Oban is now owned by the Diageo Group. It produces +/- 840.000 litres per year. The core range exists of the Little Bay, the 14 - & 18 Years as well as the Distiller's Edition with Sherry Finish.

I'm not a big fan of this distillery and this Special edition does nothing to change my mind, not even considering the quite ridiculous price. I can't remember having ever tasted a 21 Year-old Single Malt that was so Rough & Unbalanced. I must question the Cask Management in this respect. With 21 Years of cask time you would expect a fully matured Single Malt but that's not the case here. It still smells and tastes like a semi-finished good. If you like Oban, do yourself a favor and buy 10 bottles of the core range 14 Years instead. This special edition is not worth your money.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 27, 2021