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

Caol Ila 1988 (Carn Mor) Review


“Isn’t It a Pity”

Whisky Review # 874

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1988 (Distilled on December 1, 1988)
Bottled By: Morrison & MacKay
Bottled for: Carn Mor (Celebration of the Cask Series) on August 18, 2015
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 4213
Age: 26 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead - 135 Bottles
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 350-390 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 😐 It's good but it lacks Balance and Complexity.

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Caol Ila enough time in the glass before Nosing. The first impressions are Smoke, Earthy Peat, Wood and a few Burnt notes. The Alcohol is present so you will need to find your way around it. I do not find an awful lot of complexity here. I must admit I'm slightly disappointed as I expected more after 26 years.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Butter, Burnt Heather, Charred Oak, Dirty Smoke, Wet Clay mixed with Cow Manure and Straw, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Toasted Pineapple, Roasted Coffee, Lemon, Olive Oil, Leather, Aniseed, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Pepper and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Burnt Rubber, Varnish, Toasted Nuts, Bacon and Shellfish on the BBQ, Wet Rocks, Grapefruit, Apple-Vinegar, Yeast, Mango, Tobacco, Cinnamon and Cloves.


Palate:

My favourite part of this Caol Ila. I find the Nose rather on the plain side and the Finish slightly Messy and quite Woody and Spicy. On the Palate, Coastal notes, Smoke/Peat, Wood, Spices and Fruit are a bit more in line.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Burnt Heather, Dirty Smoke and Earthy Peat, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Charred Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Toasted Pineapple, Leather, Pepper, Aniseed, Menthol, Licorice and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Brine, Iodine, Smoked Bacon, Fish & Shellfish, Apple-Vinegar, Wax, Cherry-Flavoured Mints, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

     

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Sweet with additional Bitter, Salty & Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol remains quite present. Lots of Wood and Wood Spices as well. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel/Butter, Vanilla, Dirty Smoke, Earthy Peat, Soot, Tar, Brine, Iodine, Ashes, Wet Rocks, Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Charred Oak, Grapefruit, Lemon, Smoked Salmon, Roasted Nuts, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Leather, Toasted Pineapple, Apple-Vinegar, Pepper, Menthol, Cinnamon, Aniseed and Ginger.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Alcohol retreats on the Nose and gives way to a few Fruity notes like Apricot or Peach. Banana perhaps. The Malt also becomes easier on the Palate and in the Finish although Menthol and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup start to dominate the latter. Considering it all my advise would  be to add a few drops of Water in this case.

Rating: 87

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. I expected more though.

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.

In general I love well-matured Islay Whisky and Caol Ila is one of my favourite distilleries. But despite the fact that this Carn Mor expression is a good Single Malt, it failed to meet my high expectations and it won't rank amongst the best aged Caol Ila Malts I've tasted so far. There's too much Alcohol, Wood, Spice and Smoke to really consider it as being well-balanced. It probably overstayed its time in the cask a little bit. It's still a good Whisky of course but at today's prices I can't really recommend it. What a pity! I was really looking forward to taste this one!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     May 25, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.2 Review


“Blame It On My Youth”

Whisky Review # 873

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 07.2 (208 PPM) - Scottish Barley Series
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition
Age: 5 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.5% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks + Rhone Syrah Red Wine casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-220 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive for such a Young Single Malt
Buying Advice: 😀 A Young but well-made Peat/Red Wine combination

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Octomore sufficient time in the glass before nosing as the ABV is quite high. It's reasonably well-integrated though. The first impressions are soothing Earthy Peat & Dark Red Fruits. Nice combination. The Syrah casks are noticeable but do not overpower the other Aromas. Quite pleasant all in all with a mix of Fruity, Sweet, Sour and Salty notes. It's a Young Whisky of course but it doesn't bother me at all while nosing.

Main Aromas:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Burnt Grass, Brine, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Smoked Bacon & Ham with Mustard, Red Berries, Grapefruit, Lemon, Roasted Nuts, Dusty Charred Oak, Black Olives, Pepper and Cinnamon.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Yeast, Iodine, Green Apple, (Green) Apricot, Orange, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Herbal Tea, Peanut Butter, PVC Pipes, Gasoline Station, Tobacco, Leather, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Cocoa Powder, Ginger and Menthol.


Palate:

A nice combination of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Fruity notes. Medium-Dry. Youth and Alcohol are more noticeable now. I can only imagine how awesome a fully-matured Octomore would be. Bruichladdich should really try it out at least once! Once again, the Syrah casks are there but not at all in a suffocating way.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Earthy Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Dark Red Berries, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mix of Straw & Cow Manure, Green Apple, Smoked Bacon & Ham with Mustard, Dusty Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Licorice and Mint.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Iodine, Burnt Grass, Seville Orange, Tobacco, Leather, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Rubber, Metal, Strong Espresso & Herbal Tea.


Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Medium-Dry. The Alcohol is certainly strong at this point. Its Youth is also more noticeable. There are a few Rubber and Metallic Off-Notes that I could do without. The Finish is a mix of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Medicinal and Bitter notes. I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Yeast, Burnt Grass, Earthy Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dark Red Berries, Herbal Tea, Roasted Nuts, Dusty Charred-Oak, Leather, Tobacco, Strong Espresso, Wax, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Smoked Ham, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that certainly helps to calm down the Alcohol. The Nose becomes a bit too Peaty though. Palate and, to a lesser extent, the Finish, benefit from the added Water though. I would advise to add a few drops (5).

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: 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 and Octomore. The basic core range includes Classic Laddie, Islay Barley 2010 and Black Art 5. The annual production amounts to around one million litres.

The Octomore 07.2 was launched in 2015, originally for Travel Retail only. I have mixed feelings about this Octomore. On the one hand, the combination of Bourbon and Syrah casks works very well. The Red Wine influence is there but always in a modest laid-back way. Well done! On the other hand, Palate and Finish ruthlessly show the Youth of this Octomore, something the Nose manages to hide in a clever way. The Price/Quality ratio can't be good therefore and I long to nose and taste a fully-matured Octomore! Peat Lovers all over the World should send petitions to Bruichladdich in this respect. Who knows some day!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       May 18, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Glen Grant 15 Years Batch Strength 1st Edition Review


“Sweet and Innocent”

Whisky Review # 870

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Grant Batch Strength - 1st Edition (10680 Bottles)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years (2002-2017)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 65-75 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay 
Buying Advice: 😐Okay for beginners. Too boring for experienced Malt fans.

Colour:

Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Please give this Glen Grant some time in the glass before Nosing as the Alcohol is quite noticeable. No wonder at 50%! In contrast to the Tormore I reviewed last week, this Glen Grant presents itself as a modern mainstream Malt on the Nose. Lots of Malt, Toffee and Citrus. Nothing to disturb anyone but without any Wow moments as well. Clear Bourbon cask notes.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Creamy Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Bread Dough, Grass and Hay, Orange Marmalade, Lemon, Nectarine, Papaya Cream, Milk Chocolate, Fresh Oak,  Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Demerara Sugar, Caramel, Beeswax, Pear, Pineapple, Mandarin, Floral Soap, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruits (Studentenhaver), Ginger and Mint.


Palate:

Mainly Sweet with a few Herbal, Spicy and Bitter notes for balance. Beginning Whisky drinkers will love the easy Sweetness of this Single Malt but I can't get excited about it. Way too dull.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Creamy Malt, Toffee, Orange Marmalade, Lemon, Nectarine, Oak Char, Green Apple, Pear, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon and Pepper.    
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Buttered Toast/Biscuits, Grass and Hay, Golden Syrup, Peach, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit, Floral Soap, Pineapple, Mandarin, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves and Banana Ice-Cream.


Finish:

Medium-Long. Mainly Sweet with a few Herbal, Spicy & Bitter notes for balance. I find Creamy Malt, Toffee, Syrup, Vanilla, Honey, Wax, Orange Marmalade, Peach, Lemon, Herbal Tea, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Green Apple, Nectarine, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice, Nutmeg, Dusty Track and Caffe Latte.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. A few drops are okay but too much Water transforms this Glen Grant into Sweet Barley Water. I prefer it neat.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good/Uninspiring

Conclusion:

Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by James & John Grant. It is located in Rothes in Banffshire. Over the years many mergers and take-overs took place but in the end, Campari (Italy) bought Glen Grant in 2006. The core range includes the NAS Major's Reserve, a 5 Year old (Italy only), a 10, 12 and 18 Years.

The 15 Years I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017/2018 for the American and Travel Retail markets. There's nothing really wrong with it and beginning Malt fans will be pleased with this reasonably priced 15 Years edition. But I found it so dull and boring that I almost fell asleep during the Tasting session. I'm just kidding of course but you get the picture. The perfect nightcap! 😴

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 27, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Tormore 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review



“Perfect Imperfection (All of Me)”

Whisky Review # 869

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tormore 1988 - Birds Label - Distilled in 1988 - 254 Bottles
Bottled By: Antique Lion's of Spirits (Italy) in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.4% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Cask - Cask # Unknown
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 315 (April 2020
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay considering its age and quality
Buying Advice: 👍Interesting "Old Style" Speyside Malt with character

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It's always nice to smell and taste an older Whisky. Despite its age, the Nose of this Tormore is Fresh, Clean, Fruity (Tropical Fruits and Citrus) and Grassy. It's mainly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is nicely integrated and there's not a whole lot of Wood influence suggesting a less active cask. I wouldn't call it special and complex but it's quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Butter, Ripe Orchard Fruit (Apple, Pear, Nectarine), Lemon and Orange, Pineapple, Grass and Hay, Floral Soap/Perfume, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Grapefruit, Mango, Charred Oak, Leather, Fruit Candy, Dried Fruit, Pepper and Mint.


Palate:

The Oak makes itself noticeable and shows the age of the Malt. It brings a little Bitterness and Wood Spices that help offset the otherwise mainly Sweet Palate. A few Sour notes can be found as well. It's not a perfect Single Malt but it offers much more character than most of today's Modern Mainstream Barley Juice.

Main Flavours:

Thick Sweet Barley, Ripe Apple and Pear, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grass & Hay, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal-Tea, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Buttered Cake, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricot, Floral Soap, Pepper, Aniseed and Ginger.   

Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. The Oak is much more noticeable at this point and brings quite some Bitterness and Menthol to the party. I find Malted/Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sugared Almonds, Pineapple, Mango, Sour Apple, Lemon, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Marzipan, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not significantly change the Aroma and Flavour profile but you can certainly play with a little Water in this case.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Tormore is a relatively new distillery and was founded in 1958 by Schenley Int. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) acquired the distillery in 2005 when it took over Allied Domecq. It is located in Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire). The distillery has a production capacity of 4.8 million litres. Most of it is used in Blends like Ballentine's, Long John, Cream of the Barley and others. The core range merely consists of the 14 and 16 Years.

Antique Lion's of Spirits is a recent collaboration between Lion's Whisky, Whisky Boutique (Italy) and Jens Drewitz from German Indie Bottler Sansibar.

This 28-old Tormore is not a perfect Whisky and I personally think it overstayed its time in the cask somewhat. The Nose fools you in this respect but on the Palate and in the Finish the Wood & Wood Spice speak loudly. It's also a pretty forward Bourbon cask matured Speyside Malt. But it's got character and that counts a lot in my opinion. That alone sets it aside from todays Mainstream Malt. I can't say that older Whiskies are better than recent ones as I have tasted relatively few of the old guys. But they all have more character and are presented as they were made without adding Artificial Colouring, without being Chill-Filtered and without using fancy casks to hide imperfections. This is Whisky as it's supposed to be. Imperfect but flavourful and with its own character. I'll toast to that!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 20, 2020

Highland Park Dragon Legend Review


“Another Park Another Sunday”

Whisky Review # 866

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Dragon Legend
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43.1%
Maturation: Mix of European and American Sherry-Seasoned Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 40-60 (March 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay.
Buying Advice: 😑 It's not bad but it's way too Thin/Watery for me.

Colour:

Golden Straw(Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Light, Clean, slightly Floral and a little Harsh. The Alcohol is noticeable. Mainly Sweet with some clear Sherry Wood Aromas. This is supposed to be more Peaty than most Highland Park Malt but Peat and Smoke are still quite subdued. It's not unpleasant but it's rather simple and not fully-matured. I can't exclude the use of some Virgin Oak.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Earthy Peat, Oak Char, Candied- Orange, Stewed Apples, Red Grapes, Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Heather-Honey, Spicy Fruitcake, Wax, Lemon, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Ashes, Polished Leather, Mint and Cloves.



Palate:

Light, Thin to the point of Watery and a bit Harsh. It basically follows the Nose but Smoke and Peat are more noticeable now. Mostly Sweet with a few Bitter & Sour touches.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Burnt Straw/Grass/Heather, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Smoke, Wax, Candied Orange, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Licorice and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Apple, Lemon, Nectarine, Polished Leather, Dusty Cellar, Oak Char, Raw Meat, Milk, Soot and Ashes.


Finish:

Middle-Long. A Mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. It's not bad but suffers from its Thin structure despite the reasonable ABV. I find Toasted Barley, Peat and Smoke, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Dried Fruit (Raisin, Apricot), Apple, Candied Orange, Oak Char, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Aniseed and Licorice. Hints of Polished Leather, Nectarine, Raw Meat and Red Wine.

Drinking Advice:

This Dragon Legend does not improve with added water. It's already sufficiently Thin as it is.

Rating: 84 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Thin but Okay

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 2.5 million litres of Alcohol & is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range basically consists of the 10 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years.

The Vikings feared and respected Dragons that were said to possess mystical powers although they represented Evil. Viking warrior Sigurd killed the Serpent Dragon Fafnir, drank its Blood and gained powerful gifts such as Prophecy and Wisdom. Wow! 😏

The Dragon Legend was released in 2017. Let's start on the positive side. It's not a bad Highland Park considering it's NAS and quite Young. There are no Off-Notes and it's all reasonably agreeable though forgettable. What kills it for me is its Thin, almost Watery texture. When I think of Vikings and Dragons I think of Strength, Courage, Thunderstorms and the like. What you get with the Dragon Legend reminds me more of an Afternoon Tea event organized by some elderly women than a banquet to the honour of Sigurd. As an entry, lightly peated malt it's okay though and so is its price!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     March 30,2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1 Review


“(Octo) More Than Words”

Whisky Review # 865

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 07.1 (208 PPM) - Scottish Barley Series
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition
Age: 5 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.5%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 120-160 (March 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for such a Young Single Malt.
Buying Advice: 👍Very nice heavily peated Young Islay. 

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Octomore some time in the glass before Nosing. It's probably the peatiest Single Malt I've tried so far. The 1st impression is peated Grist, something some of you have certainly smelled during a visit to Islay distilleries. The Alcohol is quite strong, no wonder at close to 60%! The Nose presents lots of Burnt, Charred and Medicinal notes that seem to have been infused into the Malt. If you're a beginning Whisky drinker, this Nose might turn you off a little. But after a while in the glass it actually becomes quite balanced and almost soft, albeit a bit one-sided.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Burnt Grass, Dirty Peat, Factory Smoke, Sea Water, Iodine, Bandaid, Rubber, Tarmac, Ashes, TCP Pipes, Green Apple, BBQ Bacon in Honey/Treacle sauce, Charred Oak, Leather, Wet Stones/Sand, Pepper and Aniseed.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Salted Almonds, Soot, Burnt Herbs, Lemon, Pear, Driftwood, Metal and Mint.


Palate:

The Thick and Oily Palate basically follows the Nose. Peat Lovers will certainly appreciate this 07.1 Octomore. Within its (rather limited) peated purpose it does certainly shine although it's a bit on the Sweet side. With a longer maturation this could become a great Islay Malt but that's day dreaming.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Burnt Grass, Dirty Peat, Factory Smoke, Iodine, Band Aid, Ashes, Soot, TCP Pipes, Rubber, Tarmac, Mix of Cow Manure and Straw, Bacon on the BBQ, Burnt Herbs, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Roasted Nuts, Leather, Wet Stones and Sand, Pepper, Licorice and Menthol.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Lemon, Bitter Orange Juice, Mustard, Charred Oak, Roasted Coffee, Olive Oil, Pear and Ginger.


Finish:

Bitter-Sweet, Medium-Dry and Exceptionally Long. The Alcohol is quite Strong and the Whisky is Young but it's still quite Tasty if you're into peated Malt. The Palate and Finish are quite in line with the Nose. Therefore I find Toasted Malt, Burnt Toast, Burnt Grass, Mix of Straw and Cow Manure, Factory Smoke, Dirty Peat, Iodine, Band Aid, Tar, Rubber, Soot, TCP Pipes, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Burnt Newspaper, Burnt Herbs, Bacon on the BBQ, Charred Oak, Salted Nuts, Roasted Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Green Apple, Lemon, Pepper, Ginger, Licorice, Mustard and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not really benefit this Octomore although you can carefully add a few drops at a time. Don't overdo it though as it can easily drown.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: 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 and the very heavily peated Octomore. The basic core range for Bruichladdich includes The Classic Laddie, Islay Barley 2010 & Black Art 5. The annual production amounts to around one million litres.

The Octomore 07.1 was released in 2015. At 208 PPM you would expect an insupportable Peat Monster but that's not the case. It's certainly a Peat-Bomb but it somehow manages to maintain a certain balance. If you don't like peated Whisky you should stay away from Octomore in general but for those who love their peat the 07.1 will be a pleasant surprise. My only issues are its Youth and its Price. This could be a really great Whisky if matured for say 15 years. As it is, it's a very nice and balanced Young peated Islay Malt. I wouldn't pay 150 US Dollars for a bottle though. It's just too expensive for a Young Whisky. But I did enjoy the Tasting session!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 23, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Glenlivet The Master Distiller's Reserve Small Batch Review


“All the Small Things”
Whisky Review # 864

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenlivet "The Master Distiller's Reserve" Small Batch (# 9378/010)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of Sherry Butts, American Oak and Traditional Oak casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 170-270 (March 2020) - Huge local price differences!
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎It's better than the regular MDR but way too expensive!
Buying Advice: 👎Better stay with the core range. I recommend the 18 Y.

Colour:

Amber with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Young, Medium-Light and Sweet. Clear Sherry influences. A few Sour & Grassy notes as well. It's okay and not unpleasant. Nothing special though. Much better though than the regular MD Reserve that I reviewed earlier. Certainly a result of the better casks used for this Small Batch.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley Sugar, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Rum-Soaked Fruitcake with lots of Raisins and Sultanas, Apple, Pear, English Breakfast Marmalade, Grass, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Nectarine, Mandarin, Lemon, Sugared Almonds, Wet Stones, Floral Perfume, Coconut and Wood Shavings.



Palate:

Young, rather Light and Medium-Dry with Sweet, Bitter, Green and Sour Notes. The Alcohol is noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Barley Sugar, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Fruitcake, Green Apple, Pear, Sugared Nuts, Seville-Orange, Grass, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon and Licorice.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Raisins,  Mandarin, Grapefruit, Dusty Track, Mint, Caffe Latte, Metal and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Middle-Long, slightly Edgy and Light with mixed Sweet, Bitter and Sour Notes. The Alcohol is a bit Sharp at this Point showing us the relative Youth of this Single Malt. I find Sweet Barley, Sugar, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Sugared Nuts, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas & Apricots, Honey, Seville Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Caffe Latte, Floral Perfume, Green Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice, Ginger & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Glenlivet.

Rating: 81

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20  - Finish: 19  - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

The Glenlivet Distillery is located in Ballindalloch (Banfshire) and was founded in 1824 by George Smith. Since 2001 it is owned by Chivas Brothers Pernod Ricard and in 2018 a new extension of the distillery was approved that will increase the production to around 21 million litres making it the largest Single Malt distillery in Scotland. The Core range includes The Founder's Reserve (NAS), the 12, 15, 18 and 21 Years as well as the XXV and the Captain's Reserve. The Master Distiller's Reserve Small Batch I'm reviewing today was launched in 2011 and is part of the Travel Retail range.

The Small Batch is a step up when compared to the regular Master Distiller's Reserve. The main reason is that better casks were used to mature the spirit. The price increased disproportionally though and that's the principal reason I can't recommend this Small Batch. By the way, Small Batches may vary from time to time of course. This Small Batch benefits from the better casks but still suffers from its Youth and the inadequate ABV. It's an okay introduction to the Single Malt market if you are a fresh whisky traveller. But it doesn't present any sufficiently interesting Aromas and Flavours for long time whisky adepts.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 16, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019