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

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

Ardbeg Mor Review - Ardbeg Kelpie Review- Ardbeg Galileo Review


“Ardbeg Special”

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. At the request of many of my readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific distillery like today or with specific bottlers, countries or regions. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review three random Ardbeg Single Malts. Enjoy!
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Image result for ardbeg mor 46%
Whisky Review # 806

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Mor 2nd Edition - Distilled 1998 - Bottled 2008 - Limited Release
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 600 - 800 (March 2019) - 4,5 liter Bottle
Buying Advice: 😋Very nice young Ardbeg.  P/Q ratio: 👎 Absurd prices!

Colour:

Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Very pleasant and well-balanced young Islay Malt. Campfire Smoke and Coastal Peat are quite present but certainly not in an annoying way. The Nose is not at all complex but if you like young Islay whisky you will love it. I wouldn't say it's better on the Nose than the regular 10 Years but it does have more balance. I like it a lot!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Smoked Fish/Shellfish sprinkled with Lemon, Tart Apple, Pear, Ashes, Tar, Polished Leather Upholstery and Bitter Chocolate with a very high percentage of Cacao.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Brown Sugar, Salt Water, Ocean Spray, Wet Sand, Pineapple, Nectarine, Smoked Ham, Iodine and Almond Marzipan.



Palate:

The relative youth of the Spirit is more noticeable at this point and also in the Finish. Still it's very pleasing and warming and it makes a great dram to enjoy on a cold and windy Islay day after a walk from Port Ellen to the distillery.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Cold Cigar Smoke, Clay, Tar, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Toffee, Fish & Shellfish, Lemon, Leather, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Tart Apple, Pear, Banana, Salt Water, Cinnamon, Almond-Marzipan, Dusty Warehouse, Licorice, Menthol and a hint of Rubber/Plastic.

Finish:

Quite Long, Sweet at first but with a little more Bitterness towards the Dry end. It's a little Edgy thanks to its relative youth. I find Toasted Barley, Cold Cigar Smoke, Wet Clay, Ashes, Tar, Toffee, Cheese, Lemon, Salted Fish and Shellfish, Salty Bacon, Toasted Almonds, Leather, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Espresso and a hint of Rubber/Plastic.

Drinking Advice:

The Mor does not benefit from added Water. The ABV of 46% is spot on.

Rating: 87

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

Drinking Experience:

Good

Conclusion:

The current Distillery was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall close to the little town of Port Ellen on the island of Islay. In 1997 the distillery was bought by The Glenmorangie Company (part of French based Moet Hennessy) from the previous owners Allied Distillers. This company closed Ardbeg between 1981 and 1989 and only produced yearly during 2 months between 1989 and 1997. As a result, Ardbeg is lacking older stocks and is almost forced to launch Limited Editions while maintaining a very limited core range that consists of the 10 Years, Corryvreckan, An Oa and the Uigeadail. Like Glenmorangie, Ardbeg likes to experiment with Wood, Toasting and NAS expressions. In 2018 Ardbeg will produce around 1,4 million liters of Alcohol.

The Ardbeg Mor First Edition was launched in 2007 and was bottled at Cask Strength. At the moment you will have to pay around U$ 1200-2000 for a 4,5 liter bottle. That's crazy!

The Ardbeg Mor Second Edition that I'm tasting today was released in 2008 and bottled at the usual Ardbeg 46%. By the way, the Gaelic word Mor means big or magnificent. Quite an appropriate name for a 4,5 liter bottle.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Limited Distillery Editions should be bought at the distillery as soon as released. After a while the bottles become scarce and prices rise through the roof. In this case that's a real pity cause this Mor is a great young Islay Malt and I would love to buy bottles of this quality at a reasonable price to be able to enjoy this Arbeg Mor and Mor. Unfortunately, only a limited number of Ardbeg fans will have access to the Mor 2nd Edition at the current price level. As a small comfort, we do still have the regular 10 Years!


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Image result for ardbeg kelpie

Whisky Review # 807

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Kelpie
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Limited Edition - 60.000 bottles
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Bourbon Casks and Virgin Black Sea Oak Casks
Chill-Filtration: No
Price Range: 140-230 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😑Average Young Malt. P/Q ratio: 👎Way too expensive!

Colour:

Golden Straw

Nose:

This is quite different from your regular Ardbeg. Not as much Peat and only mild Smoke. It's quite Sweet but not really in a Fruity way. It's more the Vanilla of the Virgin Oak. It's a rather Light Nose and there's a Young feeling to it as well. It's not really unpleasant but a bit artificial.

Main Aromas:

Toast and Margarine, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Brine, A Manure/Straw mixture, Dusty Earth, Dough, Gooseberries, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Driftwood, Herbal Tea, Cheese, Lemon, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Sweet Barley, Heather-Honey, Toffee, Marzipan, Nectarine, Banana, Band-Aid, Wet Rocks, Plastic, Rubber, Motor Oil, Soot, Mushrooms, Ginger and Nutmeg.


Palate:

I wouldn't call it Watery but it is rather Thin. The relative Youth of the Spirit is crystal clear. The Palate is a combination of Sweet, Salty, Bitter and Green notes. Lots of Pepper, Menthol and Grassy notes.

Main Flavours:

Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Wet Earth, Cold Cigar Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Iodine, Brine, Grass, Smoked Fish/Shellfish and Bacon, Lemon, Driftwood, Grapefruit, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Menthol and Bitter Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sweet Barley, Treacle, Heather-Honey, Dough, Dusty Track, Licorice, Rubber, Plastic, Herbal Tea, Nectarine, Marzipan, Nutmeg, Caffe Latte and Cheese.

Finish:

Quite Long and very Sweet. A bit of Woody Bitterness towards the Dry end. A little on the Light side. This is very Young Whisky in my opinion. I find Burnt Toast, Salty Toffee, Wet Peat, Grass, Brine, Tar, Ashes, Soot, Dough, Cigar Smoke, Wet Newspaper, Iodine, Rubber, Plastic, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Cured Meat, Marzipan, Driftwood, White Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Menthol, Caffe Latte, Green Tea, Cheese and Cocoa.

Drinking Advice:

The Kelpie does not improve with added Water as it dangerously moves towards New Spirit.

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay

Conclusion:

The Kelpie I'm reviewing today was released in 2017 on the occasion of Feis Isle 2017. This one was bottled at 46%. A Committee Release bottled at 51.7% was released as well. According to the legend a Kelpie is a mysterious Water Spirit that might take the form of various animals such as Horses, Bulls or Dogs. The Kelpie 46% was partly matured in Ex-Bourbons Casks (around 55%) and Virgin Black Sea Oak casks from the Adyghe Republic in the Caucasus (Around 45%). The latter casks were imported by Bill Lumsden, distilling Director or Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.

I'm a big fan of Ardbeg and three of their whiskies are in my Top 20 so far. You can look it up here. But lately too many of their Limited Editions do not convince me. Let's take the Kelpie. It's a younger version of the 10 Years "enriched" with Spirit that matured in exotic Virgin Wood and sold at more than double the price of the standard 10 Years. Does that make sense! No, No and No in my opinion. I advise you to leave this stuff alone. It's not worth your money! Let's end this Review on a positive note. I do like the fact that new forms of Wood are tested and I congratulate Ardbeg in this respect. But these new ways should always seek to enhance the mature Spirit. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the Kelpie!


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Image result for ardbeg galileo

Whisky Review # 808

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Galileo - Limited Edition - 15000 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Distilled 1999 - Bottled June 2012
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Marsala Casks (Sicily) and Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 220-340 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😀Interesting and Different Ardbeg. P/Q ratio: 👎

Colour:

Light Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Again quite different from your basic Ardbeg. The Sweet Nose reminds me more of X-mas than of the South-Eastern coastline of Islay. There is some Peat and Smoke of course but they linger in the background. The Marsala casks are certainly noticeable but they do not overwhelm at the same time. The Nose is quite introspective so be sure to give Galileo enough "space" time in the Glass. This Nose might perhaps not please all hardcore Ardbeg fans but it is an interesting experiment nevertheless.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, (Dried) Fruit like Dark Berries, Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Red Wine, Sweet Red Apple, Fruitcake, Peat, Soft Smoke, Grass, Lemon, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Shredded Coconut, Dusty Earth, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Ashes, Wet Rock and Sand, Fish and Shellfish, Cured Meat, Roasted Nuts, Banana, Peach, Pineapple, Ginger, Cinnamon, Menthol, Charred Oak, Dairy and Leather.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour elements. The Islay notes are more present now. It's not a Fresh Fruity Sweetness. It reminds me a lot more of Fruit-Flavoured Candies really. The Palate is a bit of a mixed bag and I miss cohesion. I'm sure it's going somewhere but where exactly...

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley,Toast, Salted Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Red Apple, Fruitcake, Cold Cigar Smoke, Earthy Peat, Tar, Soot, Cured Meat and Smoked Fish, Red Wine, Toasted Nuts, Pineapple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Blackberry Flavoured Yogurt, Iodine, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Licorice, Menthol and Leather.
  
Finish:

Middle-Long, quite Spicy & Salty, Bitter-Sweet at first but slightly Sour towards the Dry end. I find Sweet Barley, Toast, Salted Caramel, Treacle, (Dried) Fruit like Plums, Raisins and Dark Berries, Red Apple, Cold Cigar Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Tar, Rubber, Grass, Herbal Tea, Red Wine, Charred Oak, Citrus, Smoked and Cured Meat, Gooseberries, Dairy, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves, Cocoa Powder and Leather. A light Metallic Off-Note right at the end as well as some Roasted Coffee Beans.


Drinking Advice:

Due to the small sample I only nosed/tasted this Galileo neat.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience:

Good and Interesting.

Conclusion:

The Galileo was launched in 2012 to celebrate Ardbeg's experiment to send a small amount of their whisky into space at the end of 2011 aiming to find out how Whisky would mature in a zero-gravity environment. The Galileo was named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Despite all this the Ardbeg Galileo does not actually contain traces of the Space Whisky.

It's not easy to judge this Galileo. It's not your average Ardbeg and at times it works a bit confusing. But it's also an interesting experiment and there's no law that says that all Ardbegs should taste the same. In fact they don't already! I wouldn't drink it on a regular basis, even if the price was reasonable which it isn't. But I do think there's a place for this type of expression in the portfolio of this distillery as not everybody appreciates drinking an ash tray. My advise to Ardbeg would be to maintain their current core range but continue to surprise us with new ideas. At a reasonable price though as otherwise the pleasures will only be shared with the happy few!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 20, 2019


All Pictures were taken during our visits to Ardbeg in May 2014 and May 2017