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

AnCnoc 24 Years


”AnCnoc On Wood”


Whisky Review # 939

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

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

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

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



Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish
:


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

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 87 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

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

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        March 23, 2022

Balblair 18 Years



”It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”


Whisky Review # 938

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

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

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

Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish:

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


Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Balblair is located in Edderton (Tain) and is one of the oldest Scottish distilleries. It was founded in 1790. Since 2006 it is owned by International Beverage Holdings. In 2007 the entire range was relaunched on the basis of Vintages instead of Age Statements. Glenrothes did this as well. But this changed again in 2019 and a new Age-Statement core range was launched with the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years. The Spirit is also used in Blends like Hankey Bannister and Inver House. The visitor centre was only opened in 2012. We visited this great looking distillery in May 2017 and did a very nice tour. Extra attention is paid to the fact the distillery was part of the set for the movie "The Angels Share" released in 2012. The distillery produces around 1.5 million litres of Spirit per year.

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     December 1, 2021

All Pictures taken during our visit in May 2017

Longrow 18 Years (2013 Release 13/184)



”Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine”


Whisky Review # 936

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

Colour: Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

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


Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish:

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

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Weird but still Good

Conclusion:

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

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  November 101, 2021

Oban 21 Years (Special Release 2018)


”For What It’s Worth”


Whisky Review # 934

Country: Scotland

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

Color: Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

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

Main Aromas:

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

Supportive Aroma Accents:

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


Palate:

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

Main Flavours:

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

Supportive Flavour Accents:

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

Finish:

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

Drinking Advice:

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

Rating: 84.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

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

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

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 27, 2021

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