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

Benromach Vintage 2009 Batch 1


”Give Me Just a Little More Time”


Whisky Review # 933

Country: Scotland

Region: Speyside
Brand: Benromach Vintage 2009 Batch 1
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: Around 10 Years (Bottled on May 29, 2019)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.8% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Mix of First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks and First-Fill Sherry Wood
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 90 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay. A bit expensive for a 10 Year old.
Buying Advice: 👍Slightly Young but well-made peated Speysider.

Color: Golden Amber with Orange hues (Natural Color)

Nose:

The Nose is welcomed by a light but pleasant & aromatic Peat Smoke that combines well with the fruity Sherry cask notes. Despite the high ABV, the Alcohol seems to be well-integrated despite the Malt's apparent youth. The Nose is mainly Sweet with a few Sour and Salty notes for balance. Rather Dry as well. I like the slightly dusty Dunnage Warehouse feeling. Another 5 years or so in the cask would do wonders to this Benromach.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Yeast, Grass, Dried Apricot, Green Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Mandarin, Lemon, Cranberry, Peat, Smoke, Dusty casks in a Dunnage Warehouse, Zigeuner Schnitzel, Herbs, Salted Nuts, Pepper, Mint and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Iodine, Tar, Wet Rocks, Leather, Tobacco, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and tiny hints of Rubber and Sweaty Feet.


Palate:

The Alcohol is much more present now and that makes the Malt slightly Dirty and edging towards Campbeltown. Not a bad thing though. The pleasant combo of Peat, Smoke and Sherry from the Nose is now accompanied by Smoky, Herbal and Spicy notes. Good Cask Management. The Youth of the Malt remains noticeable though.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Green Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Dried Apricot, Cranberry, Lemon. Orange/Mandarin, Earthy Peat (Forest Floor), Smoke, Smoked Ham, Dark Chocolate (70%), Pepper, Nutmeg, Mint and Ginger.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Grass, Tar, Ashes, Dusty Sherry casks in a Dunnage Warehouse, Strong Herbal Tea, Roasted Coffee Beans, Salted Nuts, Cinnamon, Rubber, Leather and Cooked Vegetables.


Finish:

Middle Long/Long. A Mix of Bitter, Sweet, Salty and Sour notes. Quite Dry towards the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point and it even kicks a little. I find Toasted Barley, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Salted Caramel/Toffee, Smoke, Dry Earthy Peat, Tar, Ashes, Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Dried Apricot, Toasted Pineapple, Cranberry, Green Apple, extra strong Black Tea, Espresso, Dark Chocolate (70%), Marzipan, Smoked Ham, Dusty Sherry Casks, Burnt and Wet Newspaper, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Mint & Ginger. Distant hints of Rubber and Leather.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that enhances the Fruit on the Nose, especially Apricot and possibly Peach. It also gets less "Dirty" this way. Palate and Finish benefit from a few drops but don't overdo it as you don't want to lose the true character of the Malt.

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Benromach Distillery is located in Forres (Morayshire) and was founded in 1898
by the Benromach Distillery Company. Benromach was mothballed from 1931-1937 and from 1983-1993. In 1993, Benromach was bought by Independent Bottler Gordon & MacPhail from United Distillers and since 1998 the Distillery is up and running again. The current year production is around 400.000 litres. The new core range includes, since 2020, the 10, 15 & 21 Years and the 2009 Cask Strength I'm reviewing today.

I like the way Benromach combines Speyside Malt and Peat just like in the old days. We visited this Speyside distillery in May 2014 and it was certainly one of the more memorable distillery visits. I like this distillery and its parent company Gordon & MacPhail. I have yet to taste a disappointing Malt made by either. With respect to the 2009 Vintage I only have one suggestion. Please consider giving this Malt or a similar expression another 5 years in the cask and you will be able to present a jewel to the market. It will be more expensive of course but it will be worth the wait. Go for it Gordon & MacPhail!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 20, 2021

Pictures taken during our visit in May 2014

Bruichladdich Octomore 09.1


”Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire” 


Whisky Review # 932

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 09.1 (156 PPM)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - 42.000 Bottles
Age: 5 Years (2012-2018)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill American Oak Ex-Bourbon/Whiskey casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 170-190 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for such a young Whisky.
Buying Advice: 👎In this case better go for young Ardbeg, Caol Ila or Laphroaig.

Colour:

White Wine (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Peated Coastal Malt. Smoke and Peat are not overwhelming though. On the other hand, the Alcohol is quite noticeable which is not really a surprise given the high ABV. The Nose is a Light mix of Sweet, Sour, Coastal and Mineral notes. It's okay but I'm not particularly impressed.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Campfire Smoke, Wet Earth, Brine, Soot, Iodine, Smoked Fish and Bacon, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Dusty Oak, Pepper and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Brown Sugar/Caramel, Honey, Grass and Straw, Toast with Banana/Peanut Butter, White Wine, Lemon-Tea, Pear, Nuts, Wet Rocks & Sand, Cinnamon, Ginger, Milk Chocolate, Leather and Olive-Oil.


Palate:

A Young and Nervous mix of Sweet, Bitter, Salty, Sour & Smoky notes. The Alcohol is quite strong. The 09.1 certainly does not rank among my favorite Octomores.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted Barley, slightly burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Soot, Iodine, Ashes, Charred Dusty Oak, Brine, Walnuts, Lemon, Grapefruit, Fish, Shell Fish and Bacon on the BBQ, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Salt, Ginger and Cardamom.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Nougat, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Pear, Coconut, Diesel Oil, PVC Pipes, Milk Chocolate, Leather and Cooked Brussels Sprouts.
 

Finish:

Quite Long, mainly thanks to the Peat/Smoke. A bit of an Alcohol kick. Medium-Dry towards the end.  A mix of Sweet, Salty and Sour notes. I find Sweet Malted Barley, slightly burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Treacle, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Soot, Brine, Ashes, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Sultanas, Herbal Tea, Walnut Shells, Smoked Fish/Shell Fish & Bacon, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice, Salt, Cardamom, Wet Rocks & Sand, Stale Espresso, PVC Pipes, Diesel Oil and Cooked Brussels Sprouts.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and although the Nose hardly presents changes, the Alcohol is toned down on the Palate and that's a good thing. The Finish becomes a lot shorter though. Taken everything into account my advise would be to add a few drops of Water to this Octomore.

Rating: 83

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich & the heavily peated Port Charlotte & Octomore. The basic core range includes Classic Laddie and a 10-year old Port Charlotte. The annual production amounts to around one million litres. About 10% of that is Octomore. Octomore by the way means " The Big Eighth". This is a medieval division of common ground.

The Octomore 09.1 was distilled in 2012 with 100% Scottish Concerto Barley from the 2011 harvest. It matured in Ex-Bourbons casks, mainly from Jim Beam & Jack Daniels.

This is certainly not one of my favorite Octomore expressions. It's basically about Youth, Alcohol & Peat Smoke. A bit one-dimensional in my opinion. There's a saying that "There's no Smoke without Fire" and indeed you get lots of both with the 09.1. You will have to dig deep to find the additional Aromas and Flavors. You will have to dig deep in your pocket as well to buy this Bruichladdich. You get way better value for money with young Ardbeg 10, Caol Ila 12 and Laphroaig 10!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 13, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Inchmoan 10 Years



”We Will Rocks You”


Whisky Review # 931
Country: Scotland
Region: Western Highlands
Brand: Inchmoan (Peated - Around 50 PPM)
Distilled at: Loch Lomond Distillery
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 50 (October 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑Okay
Buying Advice:😔 Good on the Rocks but not sufficiently good as a sipping Malt.

Colour: Chardonnay (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

The first impression is that of a Young, Peated Malt. Somewhere between Laphroaig and Glen Scotia or Ledaig. There's definitively a light Maritime character to this Inchmoan and that's a bit of a surprise. The Alcohol is quite noticeable and it feels a bit Thin despite the adequate ABV. I detect a few Salty, Sour, Dairy, Green & Plastic notes. The fruit is hidden behind the Peat.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Cold Smoke, Wet Mud, Forest Floor, Grass, Yeast,  Salted Fish/Bacon, Tart Apple, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Lemon, Plastic, Herbs de Provence, Cardboard Boxes, White Chocolate, Mint and Nutmeg.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Coconut, Iodine, Tar, Brine, Wet Rocks, Mandarin, Pear, Rubber, Dusty Oak, Iron, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Camembert, Almond Oil and Licorice.


Palate
:


Young. A mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour, Salty and Green notes. A little Rubber and PVC Pipes as well. Remarkably Dry. The Alcohol is quite noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Cold Smoke, Wet Earth, Brine, Salted Fish/Bacon, Wet Newspaper, Wet Rocks/Sand, Lemon, Mandarin, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Tart Apple, Herbs de Provence, Camembert, Yeast and Pepper.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Tare, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Iron, Salted Almonds, White Chocolate, Nutmeg,  Cinnamon, Iron and Tobacco.

Finish:

Middle-Long. A mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour & Salty notes. The Alcohol is very present I'm afraid. Quite Dry after a while. The Young feeling remains right until the end. I find Malted Barley, Salty Caramel, Vanilla, Salted Almonds, Cold Smoke, Wet Mud, Wet Rocks/Sand, Wet Newspaper, Iodine, Soot, Rubber, Ashes, PVC Pipes, Stewed Apples, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Gooseberry, Dried Herbs de Provence, Dusty Oak, Salted Bacon/Fish, Camembert, Tobacco, White Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. But you're left with a Peppery, Peaty Vodka. So better sip it neat or, preferably, on the Rocks.

Rating: 83

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

The modern Loch Lomond Distillery was constructed in 1965 by Littlemill Distillery Company but Whisky has been distilled on the shores of Loch Lomond since 1814. In 2014 it was sold to Exponent Private Equity and, finally, in 2019 to Hillhouse Capital Management. Loch Lomond uses four types of Stills including Straight Neck Pot Stills and a Single Grain Coffey Still. It produces both Single Malt & Single Grain Whisky. Around 2,8 million litres of the first and 2 million litres of the latter. Loch Lomond possesses two sub-Brand Names namely Inchmurrin for Fruity and Sweet Malt and Inchmoan for Peated and Spicy Malt. Inchmoan uses a combination of Malt Whisky from their traditional Swan neck pot still and the straight neck pot still.

In general I'm not too fond of Young Single Malts that present a relatively high ABV and/or are heavily peated. On many occasions these features try to hide the Youth and the indifferent Cask management. I feel that's very likely the case here with this Inchmoan. Unfortunately the peat conceals most of the Fruity notes as well. It's not really a bad Single Malt and the Rubber/Plastic/Iron off-notes are within limits. But the reasons mentioned above do prevent this Inchmoan from being a truly enjoyable sipping Malt. On the Rocks it's just fine though and that's the way I'm going to enjoy this bottle of Inchmoan!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                         October 6, 2021

Bowmore 25 Years



” Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”


Whisky Review # 926
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 320-380 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for what it offers!
Buying Advice: 👎Quite Thin and all-around disappointing for a 25 Years!

Colour: Mahogany (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

The delivery is a bit on the Thin side. A Single Malt this old should at least have an ABV of 46% or, preferably, Cask Strength. Corporate minds produce corporate Malts that obtain corporate profits. It's a pity really! The Nose is mainly Sweet but a few Sour and Salty notes offer some balance in this department. The Peat and Smoke are still there of course but the years have mellowed them down considerably. The Nose is okay I suppose with some Coastal, Floral, Herbal, Sherry & Fruity notes but I was expecting much more.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, (Dark) Red Berries, Plum/Strawberry Jam, Campfire Smoke, Forest Floor, Strong Tea/Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Dried Herbs, Floral Soap and Cinnamon.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Iodine, Leather, Wax, Dried Fruit/Nuts mix, Cloves, Mint and Old Wood.


Palate:

Quite disappointing really. I'm a huge fan of well-matured Islay malt with its Creamy mouthfeel, perfect Wood and laid back Peat/Smoke but this one is simply not working for me. Way too Thin and Bland. I absolutely would not give this 25 years in a Blind tasting! The palate is an unassuming mix of (Sugary) Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. Not really bad but again I was expecting much more. Bowmore is not my favorite Islay Malt and this 25 Years does nothing to change my mind. If you like mature Bowmore, better go for the 18 Years.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut/Raisin Dark Chocolate, Campfire Smoke, Forest Floor, Strong Tea/Espresso, Dried Fruit like Plums & Figs, Mixed Nuts (Hazelnut, Walnut), Floral Soap, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Cotton-Candy, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dusty Oak/Cellar, Cigar Ashes, Iron, Mint and Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup.


Finish:

Middle-Long and on the Thin side. Mainly Sweet with a few Sour and Bitter accents. You hardly notice the Alcohol. The aftertaste quickly becomes quite Dry and slightly Metallic like when you've bitten a coin. Not that I do that a lot of course but...you get the picture. The Finish is easily the weakest part of this Bowmore. I find Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Burnt Heather, Salted Caramel, Herbal Tea, Campfire Smoke, Garden Compost, Strong Stale Espresso, Dried Fruit like Prunes & Figs, Mixed Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mint, Dusty Oak, Leather, Tobacco, Soap and Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup.

Drinking Advice:

It's no use adding Water to this Bowmore. It's already too Thin as presented.

Rating: 85

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Not bad but thoroughly disappointing!

Conclusion:

Bowmore is the oldest Islay Distillery and was founded in 1779 by David Simpson. It changed hands a couple of times along the years but since 1994 the Japanese Suntory group controls Bowmore. Bowmore still malts around 30% of the Barley on their premises. They currently produce around 2 million liters of Alcohol. The core range includes the NAS # 1, the 12, the 15 Darkest, the 18 and 25 Years. Some of the Bowmore Spirit is used in Blends like Rob Roy and Black Bottle. We visited the distillery in 2014 & 2017. I absolutely love the Malting Floor. Nice Shop and Visitor-Centre. Certainly well-worth the visit.

I was really looking forward to tasting this 25-Year old Bowmore and given its salty price-tag I was expecting a lot. Unfortunately though, I don't think I've ever been quite as disappointed when tasting a mature Islay Malt. Let me start by saying that it's not a bad Single Malt but at this age and this price level it should be nothing else but great and it isn't. Way too Thin and, yes, boring. Indifferent casks as well. And we're expected to pay over 300 Dollars for this. No way! Bowmore can produce great mature Malts and the late great but extinct 17 Years is one of my all-time favorite Single Malts. But this 25 Years old hurts and not only your wallet!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Laphroaig Four Oak Re-Visit August 2021


”Water of Life”


Whisky Review # 925

History:

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

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

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

Supportive Aroma Accents:

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


Palate
:


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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish:

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

Rating: 78

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Re-Visit Laphroaig Four Oak

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

Nose:

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

Palate:

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

Finish:

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

Conclusion:

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

Rating: 78.5 

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

Jan van den Ende                                                                         August 4, 2021 

Macallan Enigma


”Macallan Vs. Oakenfold”


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

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

Supportive Aroma Accents:

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


Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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


Finish:

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

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Macallan.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid and is located in the village of Craigellachie (Morayshire). The majority of the shares is owned by the Edrington Group. The current production lies at around 11.5 million litres per year. The Quest collection was launched in 2017/2018 to replace the 1824 Collection that consisted a.o. of Gold, Amber, Siena and Ruby. While these series focused on color, the new Quest collection that consists of Quest, Lumina, Terra and Enigma focuses on Oak. The Quest collection was initially launched on the Travel Retail market and does not bear an age-statement.

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                              July 7, 2021

All Pictures Taken During Our Visit in May 2014

Glenallachie 15 Years


”A Bitter Pill to Swallow”


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

Colour: Mahogany (Natural Color) - Very Dark Color

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

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


Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish:

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

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Okay/Good. Not really my type of Whisky. 

Conclusion:

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

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

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 30, 2021

Aberlour 12 Years Double Cask Matured


”Back To Life (Back To Reality)”


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

Colour: Deep Gold (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

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


Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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


Finish:

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

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 79.5

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 16, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014