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

Royal Lochnagar 2018 Selected Reserve


”In Memory of Queen Elizabeth II”


Whisky Review # 966

Country: Scotland

Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve - Limited Edition
Bottled: 2018 - Bottle # 1256 of a total of 3000
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS (Said to be between 18-20 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Re-Fill Bourbon barrels and Re-Fill Bodega Ex-Sherry casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 170-190 (October 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Can
't be cheap but too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ A well-made Sherried Highlander for special occasions

Color:

Deep Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Clear Re-Fill Sherry cask influence. A little Sulfur but nothing serious. It's Medium-Sweet and the Nose reminds me of X-Mas cake with lots of Dried Fruit, Brown Sugar and Spices. The Alcohol is slightly noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Brown Sugar, X-Mas Cake with Sherry-soaked Dried Fruit such as Sultanas, Raisins, Apricots, Plums and Figs, Dark Red Fruit like Berries and Cherries, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Forest Floor, Dusty Oak and Caffe Latte.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Treacle, Honey, Resin, Sweet Apple, Ripe Banana, Ginger, Leather, Tobacco, Aniseed and Mint. Hints of PVC Pipes and Cranberry Juice.


Palate:

We remain in the Sherried X-Mas atmosphere although I find some additional Floral and (artificial) Fruity notes. It's a little on the Thin side for such an expensive Malt.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Toffee, Orange Marmalade, X-mas Cake with Sherry-soaked Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Plums and Figs, Dark Berries, Tutti-Frutti Gum, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Dusty Oak and Strong Espresso.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Sweet Red Apple, Hazelnut-Chocolate, Dusty Earth, Floral Soap, Dark Cherries, Caffe Latte, Ginger, Leather and Tobacco.


Finish:

Middle-Long, a little Sharp, Bitter-Sweet and Dry towards the end. A few Sour notes as well. It's slightly Thin and an ABV of 46% would have been more adequate. I find Toasted Malt, Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Honey, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Figs, Plums and Raisins, Sweet Red Apple, Dark Berries, Hazelnut-Chocolate, Strong Black Tea, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Menthol, Dusty Earth, Metal Coins, Floral Perfume, Orange Marmalade, Cloves and Dunnage Warehouse.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that takes care of the light Alcohol Heat. It also adds an unexpected Paint Thinner note. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it.

Rating: 85.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8 (********)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. And I'm planning to only use the 1-10 scale as of January 1, 2023. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good

 
Conclusion:

The Royal Lochnagar distillery is located one mile from Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the British Royal Family. Queen Victoria and Albert Prince Consort visited the Lochnagar distillery on the 17th of September, 1848. They were duly impressed and issued the Royal Warrant to the distillery. To celebrate this very special moment the Royal Lochnagar Selected Reserve was developed in 1988. Selected casks are used for this limited edition. Usually, the whiskies used for this Reserve are 18-20 Years old. It is only released if and when sufficient good casks are available.

The original Royal Lochnagar Distillery was built in 1823. It was destroyed by fire twice, respectively in 1824 and 1841. In 1845 it was rebuilt by John Begg. It was Queen Victoria's favourite distillery and received its Royal Warrant in 1848. It is located in Lochnagar, Royal Deeside near Balmoral Castle. The current owners are Diageo. Most of the production goes into Blends like Johnnie Walker Blue and Black and Windsor, the most popular Blend in South Korea that was launched in 1996. The core range consists of the 12 Years & the Selected Reserve. The annual production amounts to around 450.000 litres of Alcohol. We enjoyed our visit to the distillery in 2019.

I review this Malt today to honour the late Queen Elizabeth II who passed away at Balmoral castle close to Royal Lochnagar on the 8th of September of this year.

This Royal Lochnagar is not your to-go-to daily dram and not only because of the hefty price card. It's more of an after-dinner malt to enjoy with Dark Chocolate, Espresso Coffee and perhaps a light Cigar on a special occasion. It's well-made but suffers from the usual Diageo flaws that include a low ABV, Chill-Filtration and lots of added Caramel. I bought a full bottle during our visit to the distillery in 2019 and I will enjoy a dram once in a while after a nice dinner or when assisting the Netflix series "The Crown" that gives us an interesting insight in the Life and Times of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Cheers ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                       October 13, 2022

Benromach 15 Years


Diet Christmas-Cake”


Whisky Review # 964

Country: Scotland

Region: Speyside
Brand: Benromach
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks with Oloroso Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Sample provided by Jan from the Netherlands. Many thanks!
Price Range: US$ 70-100 (September 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay at around US$ 70. I would not pay more though.
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ It's okay I guess but too Thin for me. I prefer the 10 Years.

Color:

Amber with hues of Orange and Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Medium-Sweet and slightly on the Thin side. This expression would benefit from an ABV of 46%. The Sherry influence is noticeable. The Alcohol is not totally integrated and I also get a bit of Sulphur & Glue. Nothing serious though. Lightly peated Diet Christmas pudding sums it up nicely.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Biscuits, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Grass and Straw, Wax, Christmas Cake with Nuts and Dried Fruit like Apricots, Apples, Plums, Dates, Sultanas and Candied Orange and Lemon, Polished Leather, Dusty Oak, Milk Chocolate, Dried & Fresh Herbs, Cinnamon and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Cigar Ashes, Rubber, Petrol Station, Tobacco, Sulphur, Soot, Glue, Resin, Cooked Vegetables, Wet Rocks, Grapefruit, Artificially-Flavoured Banana Candies, Curry-Chicken, Espresso, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cardamom. A hint of Sweaty Feet.


Palate:

Again a little on the Thin side. A mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Salty notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Christmas Cake w/ Walnuts and Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Apricots, Plums, Apples & Candied Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit, light Smoke, Earthy Peat, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Grass & Straw, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed & Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Resin, Wax, Mandarins, Dark Berries, Wet Rocks, Cooked Vegetables, Strong Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Herbs, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Licorice and Chicken Broth.


Finish:

Medium-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Dry with some Sour and Salty notes that provide balance. A slightly Thin mouthfeel. The Alcohol remains noticeable. There is a slight Artificial feel to this BenRomach. I find Toasted Barley, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Resin, Grass and Straw, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Dusty Oak, Dark Chocolate, light Smoke, Earthy Peat (Forest Floor), Cigar Ashes, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas & Plums, Orange, Grapefruit, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Wet Rocks, Black Tea, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Menthol and hints of Iron and Chicken Broth.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this BenRomach.

Rating: 83.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7 (*******)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. And I'm planning to only use the 1-10 scale as of January 1, 2023. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good

The Old Packaging
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, 21,40 Years & the 2009 Cask Strength. We visited the distillery in May 2014 on a very rainy day and enjoyed a great private tour and tasting. It's certainly worth a visit!

The 15 Years matured for 9 years in a mix of First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks (80%) and Re-Fill Ex-Sherry casks (20%). Both components were subsequently married and matured for another 6 years in First-Fill Oloroso Sherry casks.

I like this distillery and their 10 Years in particular and in general can appreciate their expressions. But this 15 Y does not really work for me. It's okay I guess but it's too Thin and it lacks emotion and direction. It should have been bottled at 46%. As it is, it's a bit dreary just like the weather on the occasion of our visit in 2014. Not my favourite BenRomach. 

Cheers ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                  September 29, 2022

Pictures taken during our visit in May 2014

Bowmore Vintage 1988


”A Soapbox Opera”


Whisky Review # 962

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore Vintage 1988
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: Around 29 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 47.8%
Maturation: First-Fill American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks - Bottled: 2017
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 450-600 (September 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Way too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ž I had expected so much more. But ๐Ÿ‘Œ if you're into Perfume ๐Ÿ˜‰

Colour:

Golden Sunlight (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Quite Light and Introvert for a 29 year old Single Malt. The casks were probably not heavily charred. The Peat and Smoke have softened up over the years and form a pleasant and delicate base for the other Aroma components. The Nose presents a mix of Sweet, Sour, Salty and Mineral notes. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Soft Peat and Smoke from a Distant Fire, Ashes, Roasted Nuts, Lemon, Grapefruit, Apple Cider, Wet Rocks and Sand, Meat on the BBQ, Cinnamon, Curry and Coriander Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather Honey, Floral Perfume/Soap, Grass & Straw, Creme de Cassis, Iodine, Tar, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Toasted Pineapple, Cloves, Ginger, Pepper and Mint.


Palate:

It's like entering a Perfume shop rather than a Whisky warehouse. I know that lots of Bowmore malts from this period have this characteristic but I never found it to be quite as overwhelming as in this case. Not really my style I'm afraid.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Soft Peat, Smoke from a Distant Fire, Meat on the BBQ, Floral Perfume/Soap, Grapefruit and Lemon, Tart Apple, Bitter Almonds, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Toasted Pineapple, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Mint, Licorice and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Ashes, Tar, Iodine, Pebbles, Dusty Track, Mandarin Juice, Nougat, Bounty, Tobacco, Leather, Ginger and Pepper.      


Finish:

Quite Long, Bitter-Sweet and quite Perfumy. The latter is characteristic for Bowmore malt produced in the 80's but in this case it's a bit too pronounced in my opinion. The Alcohol is more noticeable now and the Finish is slightly Sharp. I find Toasted & Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Soft Peat, Distant Smoke, Ashes, Iodine, Floral Soap/Perfume, Meat on the BBQ, Lemon, Grapefruit, Apple, Dusty Track, Dusty Oak, Pebbles, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Tobacco, Pepper, Mint, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and Leather. Rather Dry in the end.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that adds floral notes to the Nose and the Palate. Rose Water comes to my mind. The Finish becomes quite Thin though. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it.

Rating: 84.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2)

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 960 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Not bad but very Perfumy and Underwhelming.


Conclusion:

Bowmore is the oldest Islay Distillery and was founded in 1779 by David Simpson. It changed hands various 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 over 2 million liters of Alcohol p.a. The core range includes 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, the Shop & Visitor-Centre. Certainly well-worth the visit. The 1988 vintage was bottled and released in 2017, initially for the Travel Retail Market.

This is one of the more difficult Reviews I've written over the last 10 years. I was really looking forward to Nose and Taste this 29 Year-Old Bowmore even though Bowmore is not my favourite Islay distillery. Sad to say I'm really disappointed by the Vintage 1988. In the first place it's way too Perfumy for my likings but that's of course very personal. Bowmore's from the 80's are well-known for this. But it's too much in this case, at least for me. But secondly and that's even more important, it's quite underwhelming for a 29 Year-old Single Malt. I expected a host of warming mature Islay Aromas and Flavours but it's all rather Thin and Unassuming. Only the Soft Peat and the Distant Smoke are convincing. The rest is not. What a pity!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                    September 8, 2022

Caperdonich Peated 18 Years


”Mr. Peatyful” 


Whisky Review # 961

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside - Closed Distillery
Brand: Caperdonich Peated - Small Batch Release - Secret Speyside Collection
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: American Oak Barrels - Bottled: 2019
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 160-210 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜‘ I understand it can't be cheap but stil... 
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ Certainly worth a try, especially when you like Ardbeg

Colour:

Golden Amber (Probably artificially coloured)

Nose:

Quite Light and Introvert on the Nose. It feels Younger than its age. The casks were not very active if you ask me. Still, the Peat & Smoke weave a pleasant web around Fruity, Floral and Mineral notes. The Nose is mostly Sweet with a few Tart and Salty notes for balance. The Alcohol is there but does not really interfere with the Nosing procedures. Be sure to give it some time in the glass before Nosing.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Cold Bonfire Smoke, Earthy Peat, Farm Yard, Straw, Smoked Ham and Shell Fish sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Ripe Banana, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Charred Oak, Nuts, Tropical Fruit Cocktail, Tomatoes, Mint and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Tar, Ashes, Iodine, Band-Aids, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Blueberry Muffins, Pear, Leather, Cinnamon and Pepper.


Palate:

A little on the Thin side despite the adequate ABV. I have to blame the casks here. It's still sufficiently pleasant though with a mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour & Salty notes. Caperdonich was never known for its peated Whiskies but based on this expression I would say that that is a pity. Could be delicious when matured in first class casks.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Tar, Smoked Ham & Scallops on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Milk Chocolate, Black Tea, Seville-Orange, Banana, Grapefruit, Charred Oak, Pepper, Ginger and Aniseed.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Soot, Rubber, Iodine, Orchard Fruit, Mandarin, Blueberries, Resin, Toasted Almonds, Wet Rocks, Cinnamon, Mint and Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour and Salty notes as well. A little on the Thin side. Quite Dry in the end. The Ashes remain in your mouth for quite a while but in a pleasant way. It reminds me a little of Ardbeg. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Soot, Smoked Ham and Scallops on the BBQ glazed with Honey and sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Resin, Rubber, Black Tea, Seville-Orange, Nougat, Charred Oak, Leather, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint, Licorice, Aniseed and strong Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

Given the size of the sample, I only tasted this Caperdonich neat.

Rating: 86.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8 (********)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


Conclusion:

This distillery was founded in 1897 by the owners of Glen Grant. It was closed five years later but re-opened in 1965 under the name Caperdonich. In the year 2002 it closed again and was sold to Forsyth in Rothes (Stills producer). A little later the buildings were demolished. Ex-owner Pernod Ricard (Chivas) released a number of peated Caperdonich malts in 2019. Normally, Caperdonich produced unpeated Malt.

I only tasted two unpeated Caperdonich Malts before today and they were okay but no more than that. I was pleasantly surprised therefore by today's peated version. The Peat and Smoke seem to combine well with the Caperdonich Spirit and remind me a bit of Ardbeg. It has its flaws though, mostly caused by the uninspired casks that leave this Single Malt a bit Thin and Youngish. But the potential is there and it's sad that we will probably never have the opportunity again to taste a fully matured peated Caperdonich that spent its life in quality casks. And that's a peaty pity!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                       August 30, 2022

Caol Ila 35 Years (Diageo Special Release 2018)


”That’s Life” 

Whisky Review # 959

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1982-2018 (Distilled: 1982 - Bottled: 16-08-2018)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottles: 3276 - Diageo Special Release 2018
Age: 35 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill American Hogsheads and European Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 1000-1200 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ This can't be cheap of course
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‹ Delicious!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

Lovely! Mature Islay Malt is one of my favorite Whiskies. The Nose is a little on the shy side so you need to take your time with this Caol Ila. It's worth every minute though. The first thing I notice is that Peat and Smoke are quite fresh and crispy for a 35-year old Single Malt. The refill casks provide the correct amount of Wood. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures. The Nose is a balanced mix of Sweet, Sour, Coastal, Mineral and Dusty "Old" notes. The Sherry cask influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast with Salted Normandy Butter, Caramel, Grass & Straw, Shell Fish & Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Bonfire made with Driftwood, Tarred Ropes, Soot, Ashes, Brine, Wet Rocks and Sand, Wet Earth, Toasted Nuts, Dark Berries, Grapefruit, Melon, Bounty Bars, Green Apples, Charred Oak, Cuban Cigars, Olive Oil, Cinnamon, Ginger, Garam Marsala, Aniseed and Iron.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Burnt Heather, Honey, Wax, Chalk, Iodine, Gooseberry, Orange, Pine Needles, Nectarine, slightly Sour Plums, Dunnage Warehouse, Dusty Shelves with Old Books, Polished Leather, Banana Ice Cream, Licorice and Menthol.   


Palate:

Quite strong delivery. The Alcohol is there and Wood and Spices come to play their part. The mature yet crispy Peat and Smoke remain delicious. The Palate presents a rather Oily mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Coastal, Fruity, Spicy and Mineral notes. This is a perfect Winter Whisky to enjoy while enjoying the open fire or reading a book.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Grass & Straw, Green Apple, Banana, Dark Berries, Dried Fruit like Plums/Dates, Bounty Bars, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Dark Chocolate, Toasted Nuts, Shellfish and Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Wet Rocks & Sand, Pepper and Ginger. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Wax, Resin, Nectarine, Orange, Grapefruit, Hospital, Farm Yard, Cigars, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed, Menthol, Polished Leather and strong Espresso.


Finish:

Long. Sweet, Sour, Coastal and Spicy with a little Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is more noticeable now and so are Wood and Spices. I find Toasted and Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Burnt Heather, Wax, Grass and Straw, Bonfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Brine, Ashes, Soot, Dark Berries, Grapefruit, Melon, Green Apples, Bounty Bars, Toasted Almonds, Shellfish & Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Dusty Old Casks, Ripe Bananas, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Hospital, Compost, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice, Menthol, Ginger, Aniseed and strong Espresso. Some Peach/Nectarine after a while. The Ashes stay in your mouth for quite some time.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that enhances Malt, Smoke and Peat on the Nose. The Palate becomes even more delicious and the Alcohol and Spices are toned down in the Finish. I would advise you to add a little Water.

Rating: 90.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 (********1/2)

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 23.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Excellent


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 finally became 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 really beautifully located alongside the strait between the islands of Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We thoroughly enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures. Caol Ila is certainly one of my favorite distilleries and Single Malts.

I haven't encountered the perfect Whisky as yet but this 35-year old Caol Ila is pretty damn good. It has a few little flaws like the shy Nose and the perhaps a little too high ABV and it 's not the best matured Caol Ila I've had so far (See here) but it's delicious enough to enter into my all-time Top 10 so far. If you have the bucks, you can't go wrong with this Islay Malt. 

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 18, 2022

Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)

”Shake Your Bothy”

Whisky Review # 958

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)
Distilled at: Lochranza Distillery, Arran
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.2% (Natural Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in American Oak Quarter casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 35-50 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ Good
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Too much Wood and Alcohol for me to really enjoy it.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Nervous and quite Malty. Be sure to give it enough time in the glass before Nosing to avoid the initial wafts of Alcohol and Varnish. The Wood contact is very clear. There's (Dried) Fruit to be found but it smells slightly Artificial. The Nose is Medium-Sweet but also offers Sour and Salty notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains and Malt, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Sour Apple, Pineapple, Papaya, Melon, Grass and Straw, Earth, Wax, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Nuts, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Pear, Strawberry Yogurt, Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, Banana, Nectarine, Apricot, Orange, Glue, Dough, Varnish, Nail Polish Remover, Wet Rocks, Pepper, Nutmeg and a light hint of Polished Leather.


Palate:

Young and rather Harsh. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Fruit but even more Wood and Spices. Quite Dry. The ABV is too high in my opinion.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Mango, Bounty Bars, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Pear, Banana, Grapefruit, Papaya, Nectarine, Nougat, Slivovitz, Dried Herbs, Varnish, Rubber and Menthol.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Hot and Spicy. A few Sour notes. Increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. This should be better with Water. I find Toasted Grains and Nuts, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Dough, Grass, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Pear, Cassis, Slivovitz, Bounty Bars, Mustard, Charred Oak, Wax, Caffe Latte, Varnish, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that's almost a must in this case. Malt and Fruit develop in this way and it simply becomes easier to drink. Wood, Spices and Alcohol remain in control though.

Rating: 80 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7 (*******)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. 

Conclusion:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) opened a second distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran in 2019 that takes care of the peated expressions. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 18, 21 & 25 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Sherry Cask The Bodega, Barrel Reserve, Machrie Moore and The Bothy that I'm reviewing today. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit!

The Quarter Cask The Bothy was relaunched with a new look in the autumn of 2019 and added to the core range. Although it's a NAS Whisky it is said that it matured for seven years in 1st-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before receiving a 2-Year Finish in 125 Liter Quarter Casks made of American Oak.

This is not an easy Single Malt to drink. The high ABV and the intense Wood contact during maturation make this a hard ride. It's a pity really because there's a lot of Fruit out there but it's overpowered by Oak and Alcohol that are responsible for the increasing Bitterness toward the Finish. Future Bothys would benefit from a longer maturation in standard casks, a shorter Quarter Cask Finish and a lower ABV in my opinion. But that's just me of course. I bought a bottle of this in Germany and it will take me a while to finish it. Quite unusual for me ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2022