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

Strathmill 1993 (Old Particular) Review


“Bitter-Sweet Symphony”

Whisky Review # 827

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Strathmill 1993 - Distilled: January 1993
Bottled By: Douglas Laing (Old Particular Series) in December 2014
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # DL 10585 - 320 Bottles
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51.5% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Sherry Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 110-120 (August 2019)
Buying Advice: 😏 You must like Liquid Wood! The price is okay given its age.

Colour:

Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Sherry Cask influence is not overly strong although I do get some Sulphur. It's not too bad though. Give this Strathmill enough time in the glass as it opens rather slowly. The Nose is Fruity and Grassy with some Bitter, Sweet & Mineral notes. It's not too Woody given its age. The Alcohol is noticeable. Still, it's the best part of this Strathmill.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Grass and Straw, Candied Fruit like Pineapple and Pear, Orange Peel, Refill Oak, Dried Herbs and some Sour Citrus (Grapefruit & Lemon).

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Nuts, Resin, Ripe Banana, Peach, Stewed Fruit like Apples and Plums, Green Leaves and Wet Stone. A light off-note that reminds me of Cooked Vegetables or perhaps slightly Sweaty Feet.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet. Sulphur and Cooked Vegetables remain present. A bit of heavy Motor Oil as well. I do miss a bit of balance here. The Palate is saved by Fruity notes. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Main Flavours:

Barley, Yeast, Tinned Pineapple, Ripe Banana, Artificially Flavoured Candies, Cooked Fruits (Apples and Pears), Dark Berries, Refill Oak, Grapefruit, Orange, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Resin, Dairy, Nutmeg, Dried Herbs and Dirty Earth.

Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Bitter Oak notes don't invite you to have another sip. It's been a while since I find such deep Bitterness in a Single Malt. I also find Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Dark Fruits like Berries and Prunes, Nuts, Refill Oak, Stewed Fruit like Pears and Apples, Vanilla, Orange, Grapefruit, Dried Herbs, Cooked Vegetables Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

Added water does not improve this Strathmill but makes it a bit easier to drink. The Alcohol subsides but the strong Bitterness remains.

Rating: 82.5
                         
Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but for this extreme Bitterness.

Conclusion:

Strathmill was founded in 1891 in Keith and is a part of the Diageo group since 1997. Almost all of the production of around 2 million litres is used for the J&B and Spey Royal Blends. The only official bottling is a 12 Year old Flora & Fauna. In 2014 a 25 Year old Special limited release was launched.

This Strathmill is certainly not a mainstream Malt. It's Unbalanced and slightly Dirty. So it does show character which is always a plus in my book. So I would have given this Single Malt a higher rating but for this absurd Bitterness. Is it the Cask? Did the Spirit mature too long? Or both? In fact I can't remember the last time I had such a Bitter Single Malt. You won't notice this on the Nose but Palate and Finish suffer greatly. Well, it is as it is. I feel that Douglas Laing could have watched this cask a bit more carefully!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 19, 2019

BenRiach 1990 (Sansibar) Review


“Wooden Heart”

Whisky Review # 825

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: BenRiach 1990 (Samurai Label)
Bottled By: Sansibar/Spirit Shop's Selection in 2015 - 239 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.8%
Maturation: Sherry cask
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 640 (August 2019) - Lowest Price: US$ 245 (August 2019)
Buying Advice: 😔 The Malt is okay but Wood-driven. P/Q ratio: 👎

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It's hard to believe that this BenRiach matured for 25 Years. It's Fruity but does not show a whole lot of complexity. Quite clean actually. It can't have been a very active cask as well as the Sherry influence is rather limited. It's not bad of course but I would have expected so much more considering age and price level. The ABV is quite stiff but the Alcohol is reasonably well-integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Mandarin, Banana Ice Cream, Apricot, Apple, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Pepper and a touch of Aniseed.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Pineapple, Pear, White Wine & Red Wine (Never got that before!), Nuts and Nutshells, Trees and Leaves, Raisins, Musty Refill Oak, Cloves and a hint of Milk Chocolate.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Creamy and Spicy. The Age makes itself known at this point. It's not as Fruity as the Nose would suggest.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Straw, Vanilla, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Slivovitz, Mandarin, Nuts & Nutshells, Banana, Musty Refill Oak, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Honey, Apple, Pear, Dark Red Fruit (Cherries?), Lemon, Wet Stones, Cocoa Powder, Leather, Tobacco and a hint of Bacon.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Some Sour notes as well.The Bitterness increases towards the Medium-Dry end. Quite a bit of Wood and Wood spice. It really shows its age by now. There's also a very creamy mouth feel to it. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Yeast, Straw, Farmyard, Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Herbal Tea, Refill Oak, Nuts and Nutshells, Orange Liqueur, Red Grapes, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Aniseed and Licorice. After five minutes or so the Dry Menthol like Bitterness kinda returns to your throat. It does not really invite you to taker another sip.

Drinking Advice:

Despite the respectable ABV, this BenRiach does not improve with added Water. You're left with Spicy Oak. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but disappointing given Age and Price.

Conclusion:

The BenRiach distillery was founded in 1897 by John Duff & Co and is located in Longmorn, Elgin (Morayshire). It changed hands a couple of times in its history but in April 2016 it was bought by Brown Forman. BenRiach produced more or less 1,8 million litres in 2018. The core range includes a/o the NAS Heart of Speyside, the 10, 12, 21, 25 and 35 years. The peated varieties include a/o the Birnie Moss, the Curiositas 10 and the peated Quarter Cask. I have not yet been able to visit this Distillery as yet. We passed by in 2014 but it was closed for maintenance at the time. BenRiach Spirit is also used in Blends like Chivas Regal, 100 Pipers and Queen Anne.

I was really looking forward to taste this 25 Years old BenRiach but it did not live up to expectations. I mainly blame the cask for this. It's hard to detect any decent Sherry influence and it mostly gave Wood and Wood Spice to the Spirit. That Spirit is quite Fruity actually as you will perceive on the Nose. But on the Palate and in the Finish that Fruit is being overpowered by Wood and Spices. High prices are asked on the Internet as not many bottles are left. The Whisky itself though does not justify these high prices. Better save your money for an other occasion. It's a pity though as it promised so much on the outset!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    August 9, 2019

Highland Park Voyage of the Raven Review


“One Raven Doesn’t Make a Summer”

Whisky Review # 823

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Voyage of the Raven
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 41.3%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and a high percentage of First Fill Sherry Wood
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 55-75 (August 2019)
Buying Advice: 😐 Nothing special. Better stay with the core range. P/Q: 😒

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Sherry Cask influence is clear and a little Sulphur is noticeable. Nothing too serious though. The Nose is Young, Fruity, Waxy and Sweet. Some Green notes as well. The Smoke weaves its spell in the background. It's all a bit Light but not unpleasant.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Honey, Apricot filled Puff Pastry, Nutella, Smoke, Dry Earth, Dark Berries, Prunes, Orange, Dark Chocolate filled with Raisins, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Musty Oak, Rubber, Wet Paper, Polished Leather and Tobacco.


Palate:

Young and on the Thin side. A not very convincing mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. I was expecting more after the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Dark Berries, Prunes,  Nuts, Smoke, Dry Earth, Grass and Straw, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Raisins, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Rubber, Marzipan, Stewed Fruit, Dried Herbs and Musty Oak.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long. Sweet at first but with some Bitter and Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Hazelnuts, Dough, Grass and Straw, Musty Oak, Smoke, Dry Earth, Grapefruit, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves, Dried Herbs, Menthol and Dark Chocolate.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that intensifies Malt and Smoke on the Nose. Palate and Smoke become quite Thin with an increasing Wet Newspaper note. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 83.5

Nose: 21.5  - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

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 and the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.3 million litres of Alcohol and is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range consists of the 10 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years.

The Story behind this Single Malt is the following: For the Vikings who once ruled the Orkney Isles, the Raven was a powerful symbol of victory in battle, success on a voyage and loyalty to the god Odin. Ravens were the trusted guides of the early voyagers that left the Northern shores in search of new horizons. Ravens became symbols of good fortune on many Viking long ships.

The Voyage of the Raven was released in 2017, initially for Travel Retail only. It is not really a bad Single Malt but I strongly feel that Highland Park is overdoing the Viking heritage stuff a bit. Story, Image and Price seem more important than the effective quality of the Whisky. But Highland Park fans from all over the world seem to love it all. So who am I to complain? What I do know though is that it's way better to let the Raven guide you to the above mentioned core range. You are much better served that way. So help me Odin!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    August 1, 2019

Jura The Road Review


“Road To Nowhere” 

Whisky Review # 821

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura The Road (Sherry Cask Collection)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43.6%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks with PX 20 Sherry Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 55-75 (July 2019)
Buying Advice: 😞 Simple mainstream Barley Juice. P/Q ratio: 👎 

Colour:

Old Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

There's the Baby-Vomit again. There's no denying this is Jura. Be sure to give The Road enough time in the glass as this off-note fades away with time. It's a simple nose again just like The Sound. Young and basically Sweet with a few Sour notes as well. This is as mainstream as it gets. I do get a little more Sherry influence this time. The Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Yeast, Dough, Salted Caramel, Grass and Straw, Mixed Dried Fruit and Nuts, Orange, Mandarin, Milk and Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte and Cinnamon.
  
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Pancakes with Simple Syrup, Cooked Vegetables, Grapefruit, Sour Berries, Dry Earth, Wood Shavings, Tobacco and the tiniest bit of Smoke.


Palate:

Young, Light, Thin and a little Dusty. Bitter-Sweet. Some Sour notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Grass and Straw, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, Milk and Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte, Mandarin, Orange, Wood Shavings, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Sour Berries, Wet Cardboard, Dry and Dirty Earth, Dried Herbs, Tobacco, Cooked Vegetables and a tiny hint of Smoke.


Finish:

Short to Medium Long. Sweet with Bitter and Sour notes as well. Medium Dry. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Hazelnuts and Walnuts, Wood Shavings, Orange, Mandarin, Maraschino Cherries, Caffe Latte, Milk and Milk Chocolate, Wet Cardboard, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and Pepper.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes quite Malty. Almost like Barley Juice. I get some Tinned Pineapple as well. The Smoke is a bit more noticeable now. Dried Apricot appears. The Palate becomes spicier with White Pepper & Ginger in the lead. The Finish becomes dangerously Short though. You can certainly try out a few drops here.

Rating: 80

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the RocksGood

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 2018 their total production amounted to around 2,33 million litres.

The Road is part of the new Jura Travel Retail Range called the Sherry Cask Collection. All of these matured in Bourbon casks before being finished in casks that previously held Pedro Ximenez Sherry of various ages. Fifteen Year old PX for The Sound, 20 Year old PX for The Road, 30 Year old for The Loch and 40 Year old for the 19 Years old The Paps. The name refers of course to the one road that exists on the isle of Jura. It all sounds very interesting but so do most stories related to Travel Retail expressions. As always I merely concentrated on the quality and taste of the Whisky.

Will Jura ever truly conquer my Whisky heart? I really hope so but The Road won't do that Trick. It's Young and presents a complete lack of personality. Mainstream Malt Juice! It's a little Dirty and Unfinished as well. It's only slightly better than the Road and I gave it a few more points as it's actually quite smooth over Ice. But it doesn't at all convince as a sipping Malt. I wish there were other roads on Jura!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      July 24, 2019

Jura The Sound Review


“The Sound of Silence”

Whisky Review # 816

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura The Sound (Sherry Cask Collection)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 42.5%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks with PX 15 Sherry Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (May 2019)
Buying Advice: 😡Negative. Young, lackluster Malt.

Colour:

Old Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

The first thing I notice is this Baby Vomit note I so often find in Jura Malts.  It's not as strong as in some other expressions and it does diminish with time so be sure you give the Sound enough time in the glass before Nosing. On the Nose the Sound is Young, Simple, Thin and mostly Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. Not much going on in this department. The Alcohol is noticeable. The Sherry cask influence is very limited. I can't get very excited so far.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Wood Chips, Dough, Caffe Latte, Mixed Dried Fruit and Nuts, Orange, Grapefruit, Mandarin & Raspberries.
  
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Pancakes with Syrup, Straw, Refill Oak, Dry Earth and some hints of Tobacco, Smoke and Leather.


Palate:

Thin, Bitter-Sweet and Sour. Not really pleasant.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salty Caramel, Toffee, Grass/Straw, Orange, Mandarin, Dry Earth, Pepper, Nutmeg, Wet Cardboard and Iron.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Nuts and Nutshells, Dried Herbs, Refill Oak, Maraschino Cherries, Raspberries and hints of Smoke, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Licorice, Tobacco and Menthol.


Finish:

Thin, Middle-Long and mainly Sweet. A little Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salty Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Refill and Virgin Oak, Nuts and Nutshells, Orange, Mandarin, Pepper, Nutmeg & hints of Cardboard Boxes, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Maraschino Cherries and Caffe Latte.

Drinking Advice:

Jura is an Island but some added water simply drowns the Sound. Is that even possible?

Rating: 76.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 18.5 - Overall: 19

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: 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, 6 Stainless Steel Wash Backs and 2 Pairs of Stills. In 2018 their total production amounted to around 2,33 million litres.

The Sound is part of the new Jura Travel Retail Range called the Sherry Cask Collection. All of these matured in Bourbon casks before being finished in casks that previously held Pedro Ximenez Sherry of various ages. Fifteen Year old PX for The Sound, 20 Year old PX for The Road, 30 Year old for The Loch and 40 Year old for the 19 Years old The Paps. It all sounds very interesting but so do most stories related to Travel Retail expressions. As always I will concentrate on the quality and taste of the Whisky.

Jura is certainly not one of my favourite distilleries and The Sound does not do anything to change my mind. Young Malt, lackluster casks and a complete lack of personality. Mainstream Malt Juice! I bought a full bottle of The Sound at the Travel Retail Shop at the Sao Paulo Airport and I will finish this Bottle over Ice.

And the sign flashed out its warning

In the words that it was forming

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        May 9, 2019

Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength Review


“The Beauty and the Beast”

Whisky Review # 815

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength - Bottled 2006
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58%
Maturation: Most likely Ex-Bourbon Casks.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 130-140 (May 2019)
Buying Advice: 😔It's nice but rather Young. I'd go for the 18 Years instead!

Colour:

Golden Straw (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Young, Floral, Grassy, Mineral, Coastal and slightly Medicinal. Alternate Sweet and Sour notes. You have to nose your way around the strong Alcohol. Make sure to give this Caol Ila enough time in the glass before Nosing.  I wouldn't be surprised if some Virgin Wood was used in the Maturation process. I like the Nose despite its obvious Youth. (7-10 Years perhaps).

Main Aromas:

Toasted Malt, Coastal Peat, Bonfire Smoke, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Grass, Straw, Pear, Apple, Smoked Fish/Ham, Pepper, Rubber, Tobacco Leaves and Leather.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Shell Fish, Wet Rocks, Band-Aid, Lemon, Orange, Dried Herbs, Menthol, Green Coffee Beans, Floral Soap, Nutmeg and Licorice.


Palate:

A nice combination of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. The Alcohol is noticeable of course. The only thing that prevents this Caol Ila from being a great Whisky is its obvious Youth. I would love to try this as a 15 Years old.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Buttered Toast, Coastal Peat, Bonfire Smoke, Brine, Tar, Rubber, Soot, Ashes, Grass/Straw, Apple, Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pepper, Licorice and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Orange, Mandarin, Dirty Earth, Wet Rocks, Musty Oak, Dried Herbs, Floral Soap, Leather, Tobacco Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Medium Long/Long. A combination of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Quite Spicy and Medium-Dry. I find Toasted Malt, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Coastal Peat, Bonfire Smoke, Dirty Earth, Iodine, Brine, Ashes, Sea Water, Fish/Shell Fish, Licorice, Floral Soap, Menthol, Aniseed, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Leather, Old Cigar Box, Grapefruit and Lemon.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Alcohol retreats making the Whisky a little bit more approachable. The Nose becomes almost Creamy and Peat, Smoke and Coastal Aromas become more mellow. With Water you tame the Beast but...I kinda liked the Beast! On the Palate, a little Water certainly creates Balance but it's kinda like taking the sting out of a Bee. The Finish becomes rather Short. As taste is such an individual matter I would suggest to try it both Neat and with a little Water. I prefer it neat as I like the strong and wild character but it's quite enjoyable with a little Water as well.

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers is now part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is beautifully located alongside the strait between Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures.

The Cask Strength expression was launched for the first time in 2002 and has become a familiar feature since then. I'm reviewing the 2006 Edition. The Cask Strength is one of those If...expressions. It's a nice Single Malt but it could have been a great one if matured longer, let's say for around 15 Years. That's why I recommend the standard 18 Years over this Natural Cask Strength although the ABV of 43% is too low for the former. The 18 Years is the Beauty, the Natural Cask Strength is the Beast!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        May 6, 2019

Glen Moray 1991 (Sansibar) Review

Image result for glen moray 1991 2016 25 years sansibar

“Old But Not Very Wise”

Whisky Review # 813
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Moray 1991/2016
Bottled by: Sansibar Whisky GmbH, Bad Nenndorf, Germany- 296 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.9% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 200 (April 2019)
Buying Advice: 😐Good but rather plain for a 25 Years. P/Q ratio: 👎 

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Sweet, Light and not very complex considering its age. Elements of Bourbon and Rum. Waxy, Fruity and Grassy notes. The Alcohol and Oak are noticeable. All in all slightly disappointing.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Grass/Straw, Apple, Pear, Banana, Lemon, Mint, Sugar, Nutella and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Pineapple, Nectarine, Melon, Mandarin, Pepper, Nutmeg, Wax, Milk and a distant hint of Varnish.


Palate:

Light and Mostly Sweet. Pretty average actually. Malty, Fruity, Floral and Spicy notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Fruitcake dusted with Powdered Sugar, Apple, Pear, Banana, Nutella, Oak, Cinnamon, Menthol and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Butterscotch, Heather-Honey, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, Mandarin, Lemon, Cardamom and traces of Nutmeg and Licorice.

Finish:

Sweet, Middle-Long and slightly Hot with noticeable Oak and Wood spices. A very light Bitter note towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Apple-Filled Pastry, Toffee, Butterscotch, Caramel, Vanilla, Fruitcake, Pear, Heather-Honey, Lemon, Mandarin, Nutella, Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Nose becomes very gentle, almost timid. The Alcohol is better integrated this way and I get some extra Dark Chocolate. Palate and Finish start to taste like Barley Juice though. Better sip it neat though it pays off to give a little Water before Nosing.

Rating: 84.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The name Glen Moray means "The Glen of the Sea Settlement".  It's located at Bruceland Road in Elgin (Morayshire). The Distillery that was founded in 1897 is currently equipped with 1 Mash Tun, 14 stainless Steel Wash Backs and 9 Stills. With all this equipment Glen Moray produced 4,8 million litres in 2018. Since 2008 the distillery belongs to the French Group La Martiniquaise. No wonder that France is currently one of Glen Moray's main markets. In the past, Glen Moray spirit was basically used in Blends like Label 5 and Sir Edward's but under the new owners efforts are made to present Glen Moray as a Single Malt as well. The current core range includes the Classic, the Classic Port Finish, the Classic Chardonnay Finish, the Classic Sherry Finish, the Classic Peated and the 12, 15 and 18 Years old. The new visitor centre, gift shop, coffee shop & tasting area were opened in 2004.

The Glen Moray 1991/2016 is not a bad Single Malt but it's a bit plain for a 25 Year old Single Cask Whisky. It could probably have done with a few years less in the cask as well as Oak and Wood spices are quite prominent. I would not say no if someone offered me a dram of this Glen Moray but I wouldn't dream of spending US$ 200 for an unexciting Single Malt like this.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 29, 2019

Highland Park Loyalty of the Wolf Review


“Will the Wolf Survive?”

Whisky Review # 812

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Loyalty of the Wolf
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 14 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 42.3%
Maturation: A Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherry-Seasoned American Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 70-80 (April 2019)
Buying Advice: 😒Average Single Malt with a negative P/Q ratio.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Quite Light and Edgy for a 14 Years old Single Malt. There's a Refill Cask feel to it. On the Nose the Wolf Is Sweet with Floral, Mineral & Green notes. Smoke & Peat remain in the background. The Sherry cask influence is limited. There's a hint of Sulphur but it's nothing serious. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cake and Cream, Yeast, Grass & Straw, Apple, Orange, Banana, Coconut, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Heather-Honey, Green Vegetables, Dried Fruit and Nuts (Dutch Studentenhaver), Wet Rocks, Pineapple, Lemon, Cloves & Pepper.


Palate:

Slightly Thin to the point of almost Watery. A bit Rough and Dusty as well. I'm not convinced by the choice of casks here. Only hints of Sherry. The Palate is Bitter-Sweet and a little Sour.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Cake and Cream, Salted Nuts, Grass and Straw, Apple, Pear, Orange, Lemon, Refill Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger & Shredded Coconut.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Mixed Dried Fruit, Nutmeg, Cloves, Herbal Tea and light Licorice and Ashes.

Finish:

Middle-Long. Bitter Sweet with increasing Bitterness & a light Sourness towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Grass and Straw, Light Smoke and Earthy Peat, Nuts, Orange, Apple, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves and light Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

The Wolf does not improve with added Water. In fact it should have been bottled at 46%. A 14 Year Old Single Malt deserves that.

Rating: 80.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

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 and the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.3 million litres of Alcohol and is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range consists of the 10 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years. We are planning to visit the distillery in May 2019.

The Story behind this Single Malt is the following: Orkney was under Viking rule for over 600 Years. They felt great affinity with the natural instincts of the wild Wolf i.e. Loyal, Fearless, Determined and a co-operative member of their pack. Like the wolves, the Vikings were Powerful, Loyal and Courageous. In this Single Malt that is both Sweet, Balanced and Complex, the Highland Park distillery celebrates determination, co-operation and courage in the same way as Vikings and Wolves did back in the old days.

The Loyalty of the Wolf was released in 2018, initially for Travel Retail only. The review shows clearly that I'm not impressed by Loyalty of the Wolf. As so often with Travel Retail editions, the Story, Image and Price seem more important than the effective quality of the Whisky. I'm usually rather fond of Single Malts that have aged around 15 Years but not so today. The Wolf is Thin and matured in indifferent Wood. It's Sweet but certainly not Powerful. Better leave this Wolf alone and go instead for the standard 12 and 18 years (Viking Honour and Viking Pride). I don't think this Wolf will survive a long time in the HP portfolio.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   April 26, 2019