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

Clynelish 1997 (The Old Malt Cask)


”Mr. Pleasant”

Whisky Review # 928
Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Clynelish - Distilled April 1997
Bottled By/For: Hunter Laing - The Old Malt Cask Series in February 2015
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # HL 11236 - 280 Bottles
Age: 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50% (On or Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 165 (September 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Acceptable by today's standards.
Buying Advice: 👍 A well-made consistent Highland Malt.

Colour: Pale Straw/Light Gold (Natural Color)

Nose:

Grassy, Waxy and Citrusy. A mix of Sweet and Sour, Fruity and Floral notes. Oak and Alcohol are there but not in an invasive way. A nice Salty touch. Certainly not mind-blowing but quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Butterscotch, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Wax, Mandarine, Lemon, Apple, Pear, Pineapple, Fresh Herbs, Oak, Pepper, Salt and Sugared Almonds.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Orange, Banana Ice Cream, Floral Soap, Wet Stones, Cinnamon, Marzipan and distant hints of Varnish and Tobacco.


Palate:

A pleasing mix of Sweet, Sour and Salty notes. Only a light Bitterness from the Oak. The Alcohol is slightly more noticeable now but it remains quite laid-back despite the high ABV. As on the Nose this Clynelish won't break the front pages but it's a well-made Highland Malt that maintains its distillery character and is not dominated by the wood.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted Barley, Salted Toffee, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Lemon, Apples and Pears, Pineapple, Milk Chocolate, Sugared Almonds, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint, Cloves and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Butterscotch, Pastry, Heather-Honey, Banana Ice Cream, Orange, Wax, Floral Perfume, Wet Stones, Wet Leaves, Nutmeg and Tobacco.


Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour & Herbal notes for balance. Medium-Dry in the end. The Alcohol and cask are a bit more noticeable but it all stays within reason. I would say this Clynelish was bottled at the right moment. I find Sweet Malted Barley, Salted Toffee, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Lemons & Mandarins, Apples and Pears, Pineapple, Banana Ice Cream, Milk Chocolate, Wax, Fresh Herbs like Coriander, Sugared Almonds, Wet Stones, Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint, Iron, Grass, Straw and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and although that didn't make a lot of difference on the Nose, it really benefited Palate and Finish. The Flavors develop and are enhanced and the Palate becomes quite Creamy. I liked it both ways but I would suggest to add a few drops to this Clynelish.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in 1819 by the 1st Duke of Sunderland in the small town of Brora. It is owned by Diageo and the spirit is an important ingredient of various JW Blends. It produces around 4,8 million litres of Alcohol per year. Its sister-distillery Brora lies next to Clynelish and has been reopened this year after having been closed in 1983. A new Clynelish Visitor Centre is probably ready by now as well. The pictures were shot during our visit to Clynelish/Brora in May 2019.

I really enjoyed this Clynelish from Nose to Finish. It's not a work of art but a very consistent and well-made Highland Malt from Nose to Finish. A very pleasant mix of Sweet, Sour and Salty notes with plenty of Citrus and Orchard Fruit, Fresh Herbs, Floral Perfume and Spices. The Alcohol is there but I would not give it 50% at a Blind Tasting. Well done Clynelish and Hunter Laing. A good marriage between cask and spirit.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    September 1, 2021

Miltonduff 1988 (Carn Mor)


”Green Green Grass of Home”


Whisky Review # 923
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Miltonduff 1988 - Distilled on October 27, 1988
Bottled by: MMcK - Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Series - bottled : 06/10/2014
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 9954 - 144 Bottles
Age: 25 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 240 (July 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay for a 25 Year old Single Malt.
Buying Advice: 👍 Certainly if you like your Single Malt Grassy, Citric and Herbal!

Colour: Chardonnay (Natural Color)

Nose:

Please give this Miltonduff enough time in your glass before Nosing as it opens very slowly. Even after a while however this Speyside Malt presents itself as an introvert Spirit. Quite Green, Floral and Grassy. The Oak is noticeable but that's no wonder after 25 years. Still, I wouldn't call Cask # 9954 an extremely active one. It's all very laid-back on the Nose. Not unpleasant though.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Pear, Apple and Nectarine, Fresh Oak, Fresh Herbs, Green Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper and Wet Newspaper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Heather-Honey, Bounty Candy Bars, Fresh Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Resin, Wax, Peach-Flavored Yogurt, Floral Soap, Marzipan, Wet Forest, Ginger and Aniseed. A distant hint of PVC Pipes.


Palate:

The Oak and Spices come to the forefront in a combo with Green, Citric and Herbal notes. A nice Salty touch can be noted as well. A mix of Bitter, Sweet, Salty and  slightly Sour notes. It's not your everyday Single Malt profile but I would not mind enjoying a glass every once in a while.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Marzipan, Wet Forest, Dusty Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Salted Nuts, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Nutmeg & fresh Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Wax, Bounty Candy Bars, Green Apple, Nectarine, Fresh Herbs, Green Tobacco, Strawberry-flavored Yogurt, Tutti-Frutti Bubble-Gum, Clove and light Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Some Citric notes as well. Lots of Dusty Oak & Spices at this point but not over-the-top. The Green, Floral and Herbal notes still shine as well. There's a hint of the PVC Pipes again but it's not enough to consider it to be an off-note. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Grass & Straw, Lemon and Grapefruit, Strawberry-flavored Yogurt, Dusty Oak, Milk-Hazelnut-Chocolate, Marzipan, Floral Soap, Fresh Herbs, Iron Bars, Green Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol, Tutti-Frutti Bubblegum and light Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water helps to calm down Wood & Spices although the Finish becomes very Minty. I like it both ways though.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good.

Conclusion:

This distillery was founded in 1824 and is located in Elgin. A huge reconstruction of the distillery took place in 1974. It changed hands various times over the years but since 2005 it is owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard). Most of the production is destined for the Chivas blends. More specifically, Miltonduff and Glenburgie form the heart of Ballantine's. The capacity of the distillery is around 6 million litres per year. The only official bottling is the 15 Years.

Quite a different story when compared to today's Mainstream Malt. This Miltonduff centers around Green, Grassy, Oaky, Herbal and Spicy notes. It's not a complicated Whisky and certainly a bit shy on the Nose. But it's got character and that's very important, at least for me. Not for everyday but certainly nice to sip occasionally. If you like Clynelish, this might be an alternative. It's time that the distillery shows a bit more action on the Single Malt market. Such a pity that most Miltonduff is used for second division blends like Ballantine's Finest. 😡

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            July 14, 2021

Tormore 1988 (Sansibar)


”Country Comfort”


Whisky Review # 910

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tormore 1988
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Distilled in 1988
Bottled: In 2016 by/for Sansibar Spirits Shop' Selection - Chinese Theater Mask
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51.6% (Cask-Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon cask - 228 Bottles
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 250 (April 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍Okay. At this age a Single Malt can't be cheap of course.
Buying Advice: 👍 A well-matured Speyside Malt. Bit on the Woody side though!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

A nice, slightly dusty, mature Nose with the Oak nicely lingering in the background. A bit of an old English country club image with Polished Old Furniture inviting you to have a Single Malt. I think you get the picture. The Nose is a mix of Sweet, Fruity, Sour and Floral notes. Quite Buttery as well. You wouldn't give it 28 years as there are still some Fresh Aromas around. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. It's a rather plesant combination!

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Bounty Candy Bars, Charred Oak, Peach or Nectarine, Stewed Apples richly sprinkled with fresh Cinnamon, Polished Leather Upholstery, Tobacco, Orange-Milk Chocolate, Mint and Nutmeg.
  
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Salted Caramel, Honey, Marshmallow, Floral Soap, Dried Herbs, Grapefruit, Lemon, Hazelnuts, Dusty Road, Pepper and Meat-Extract.


Palate:

Thick and Buttery. It's been a while I found so much Butter in a Single Malt. On the Palate this Tormore presents a mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. The Years in the cask are telling now and the Alcohol is a bit more noticeable as well.

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Bounty Candy Bars, Polished Old Leather, Tobacco, Seville-Orange, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed, Mint, Meat-Extract and Licorice.
   
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Grass and Straw, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Marzipan, Fresh & Dried Herbs, Grapefruit, Lemon, Stewed Apples, Espresso, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Finish
:


Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with increasing Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end. You can certainly tell its age by now. Wood, Spices and Herbs are firmly in control at this point. I find Toasted Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Marzipan, Grapefruit, Lemon, Seville-Orange, Tea, Fresh & Dried Herbs, Bounty Candy Bars, Stewed Apples, Leather, Tobacco, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Licorice, Aniseed and Meat-Extract.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and you will get additional ripe Fruit on the Nose (Nectarine, Peach). The Palate does not improve in my view and the Finish gets very Spicy and Hot. You can carefully add a few drops but don't overdo it. I prefer it Neat.

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good

Conclusion:

Tormore is certainly 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 the Tormore Spirit is used in Blends like Ballentine's, Long John, Cream of the Barley and Chivas. The core range merely consists of the 14 and 16 Years.

Sansibar Whisky is a German Indie bottler founded by Jens Drewitz and others who taste and hand-select almost all casks they buy at the distilleries.

I've had a few other old Tormore Indies in the past and they are all quite good in my opinion. This Sansibar is a bit on the Woody side and might have overstayed its time in the cask somewhat. But it's still a very nice almost farm-made Single Malt that really reminds me of the warmth of Good Old British Country Comfort. The sort of hotel or club that Mr. Bean would have liked!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           April 14, 2021

Aultmore 21 Years


”The Aultmore Down the Road” 


Whisky Review # 907

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Aultmore
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Batch 00107
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Sherry Hogsheads
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 200-240 (March 2021).
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😐 The Nose is nice but Palate and Finish do not quite convince.

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

Sweet, Pleasant, Uncomplicated Nose. You certainly wouldn't give it 21 Years. Easy-going casks. Quite Fruity & Buttery. Be sure to give it some time in the glass before Nosing.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Caffe Latte, Fresh Herbs, Lemon Ice Tea, Fresh Green Apples, Oak, Pizza Dough and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Butterscotch, Caramel, Wax, Bounty Bars, Peach-Flavoured Yogurt, Meadow Flowers, Pear drops, Nuts, Forest Floor, Bourbon, Ginger and Wet Stones.


Palate:

A bit more Hot and Aggressive than the Nose would like you to believe. Oak and Spices come to the front in strength. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes with a light Metallic feel to it.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Fresh Herbs, Green Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol and Licorice.   
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Butterscotch, Marzipan, Wax, Nectarine, Banana, Seville-Orange, Bounty Bars, Cloves, Bourbon, Slivovitz and Pizza Dough.

Finish
:


Middle-Long, Bitter Sweet & slightly Hot. Oak and Spices are more noticeable at this stage. A few Sour notes as well. 
The Bitterness increases towards the end and that's a pity. It takes a little while before your palate is ready to take another sip. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Honey-Nut Cereals, Vanilla, Grass & Straw, Green Apple, Lemon, Bitter Grapefruit, Caffe Latte, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cinnamon, Menthol, Licorice, Bourbon, Oak and a little Marzipan.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water. The ABV is spot on.

Rating: 85

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good but not really shining.

Conclusion:

The Aultmore Distillery was founded in 1896 by Alexander Edward. He had to sell it in 1923 to John Dewar & Sons. Dewar currently belongs to the Bacardi Group who bought it from Diageo in 1998. Most of Aultmore's Spirit goes into the Dewar's White Label, the #1 selling Scotch in the USA. Beats Me! In 2014 the core range was reviewed and nowadays include the 12, 18 and 21 Years, the latter originally only for Travel Retail. We almost managed to visit the distillery during our last tour in Scotland in 2019 but in the end it didn't work out. We did get to sample a few Aultmores during a fine dinner in the village of Oldmeldrum, home to the Glen Garion Distillery.

I had a few mature Independently Bottled Aultmores before and quite liked them. I was therefore eager to try this 21-year old that's part of today's core range. It did not quite convince me though. It started well with the unpretending but pleasant Nose but Palate and Finish left to be desired. A bit too much Heat and Bitterness for my taste. I must blame the casks for that. This Aultmore is not a bad Single Malt mind you but with a little extra care it could have been so much better and would have justified its price. As it is I would certainly recommend to try a sample first before deciding to buy a full bottle.

Cheers!


Jan van den Ende                                                                         March 24, 2021

Longrow 14 Years


”Digging in the Dirt”


Whisky Review # 903

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Longrow
Distilled at: Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown in September 2003
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottled in July 2018 - 9000 Bottles
Age: 14 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 57.8% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Oloroso Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many thanks!
Price Range: US$ 180-220 (February 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 It's quite expensive but it's a limited Edition
Buying Advice: 😋 Delicious Dirty Pleasure!

Colour: Chestnut (Natural Color)

Nose:

Please give this Longrow sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. There's some initial wafts of Alcohol and Sulphur you might wish to avoid. This is, thanks God, a long way from Mainstream Malt. This smells authentic and a little Dirty. My first thought was like looking for an old book in a leather cover on a dusty shelf in a Dunnage Warehouse in Campbeltown. Hope you get the picture. You might perhaps expect a Peat monster but that's not the case. Peat and Smoke are there of course but they remain quietly in the background. I'm not a huge fan of Sulphur but here it seems to work somehow. In short, I like it! It's quite Sweet by the way with a few Sour notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Soft Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Pine, Leather, Dusty Book Shelves, Dunnage Warehouse, Mixture of Straw and Manure, English Marmalade, Dark Chocolate, Munster Cheese, Pepper and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Molasses, Salted Caramel, Hospital, Diesel, Brine, Old Driftwood, Oak Char, Ashes, Sour Wine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apples, Bacon on the BBQ, Wet Stone, Slightly Burnt Herbs, Tobacco, Dark Berries, Slivovitz, Ginger and a hint of Rubber.

Palate:

Quite strong and Intense. A delightful mix of Sweet, Sour and slightly Bitter Notes. The Alcohol is there but in a good way and so is the Sulphur that might feel a bit overdone to some but somehow it works here for me. Smoke is more prominent at this point.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Cold Smoke, Dirty Earthy Peat, Iodine, Hospital, Bacon, Fish and Burnt Pineapple on the BBQ, Leather, Old Books, Dunnage, Apple, Grapefruit, Dark Berries, Orange, Lemon, Pepper, Cloves and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Molasses, Burnt Heather, Pine & Herbs, Soot, Tar, Cigar Ashes, Wet Stones, X-mas Cake with lots of Sultanas, Dried Plums and Raisins, Charred Oak, Munster Cheese, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint and an Espresso served with Bitter Mint-Chocolate.
  
     

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long and on the Dry side. A mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. The Alcohol is quite noticeable but not in a bad way. Much more Cold Smoke here than I would have expected after Nosing. There's certainly Sulphur around but it sort of combines with the slightly Dirty character of this Longrow. This is not for everyone, nor for everyday but it makes me smile and that's what interesting Whisky is all about. I find Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Molasses, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Brine, Hospital, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Ashes, Pine, Dark Berries, Plums, Sultanas, Grapefruit, Orange, Leather, Tobacco, Bacon on the BBQ, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Bitter Espresso, Pepper, Mint and Plastic.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that increases the Sherry Cask influence. Lots of Dried Fruits and a general Christmas atmosphere on the Nose. The Palate and Finish get more Spicy this way. I like it both ways!

Rating: 88

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. Quite consistent from Nose to Finish

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. Longrow represents only about 10% of the total Springbank production. In 2020 Springbank only produced 120.000 litres in total due to Covid.

There's mainstream Malt and there's Longrow. Or Ledaig just to name another Dirty Diana. I can imagine that many beginning Whisky fans will have difficulties in liking this type of old school dirty malt full of Dunnage, Leather and Sulphur. It's for sure an acquainted taste. But once you like it, you might get hooked. Not your everyday Whisky to be sure but certainly a dirty joy once in a while.   

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     February 11, 2021

Caol Ila 1990 (Sansibar)


”Perfect Imperfection”


Whisky Review # 900

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1990 - Chinese Theater Mask Label
Bottled for: Sansibar Germany and Spirits Shop's Selection Taiwan in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # N/A
Age: 26 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.2% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Bourbon Cask -  Bottles: 210
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 300-400 (January 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐It simply can't be cheap but it's a lot of money!
Buying Advice: 😋Delicious well-matured Islay. 

Colour: Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Single Malt a bit of time in the glass before Nosing. On the Nose this Caol Ila is a pretty straightforward but very delicious well-matured Islay. Peat and Smoke are still there of course but they have calmed down with time. It's pretty rural actually and Cattle and Leather are never far away. It's also Sweet & Buttery with some Pineapples and Shellfish being readied on the BBQ. Too make it short, I love it!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, A mix of Wet Clay, Straw, Grass and Cow Manure, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Shell Fish and Pineapple on the BBQ, Leather, Green Apple, Herbs, Quality Oak, Pepper and Aniseed.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Wet Rocks, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Wax, Marzipan, Tobacco, Coffee Beans, Cinnamon, Ginger and Licorice.


Palate:

Strong arrival. Mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes for balance. Lots of Character & Flavor. The Alcohol is there of course but it's pretty nicely integrated. It's not extremely complicated or refined. It is what it is supposed to be. A well-matured straight forward Caol Ila. Well done.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Mix of Wet Clay, Grass, Straw and Cow Manure, Fish/Shell Fish, Bacon and Pineapple on the BBQ, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apples, Leather, Herbs, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Burnt Grass, Soot, Tar Cigar Ashes, Brine, Iodine, Wax, Tobacco, Quality Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Licorice.

     

Finish:

Long and, again, straightforward but oh so delicious. It's mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes. Medium-Dry. A mix of Coastal and Rural Flavors. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, the mix of Wet Clay, Grass, Straw and Cow Manure, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Brine, Iodine, Tar, Soot, Cigar Ashes, Wet Rocks and Sand, Fish/Shell Fish and Pineapple on the BBQ, Heather-Honey, Leather and Tobacco, Herbs, Marzipan, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Aniseed and Fresh Green Apples. A little Burnt Rubber after a while.

Drinking Advice:

You can certainly add a bit of Water to this Caol Ila although it seems to stimulate Wood and Wood Spices, especially in the Finish. I like it both ways though.

Rating: 89

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good

Conclusion:

The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers is now part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is really 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.

I love well-matured Islay Malts and this is certainly one of them. If only all Whiskies that I review would be like this. Wishful Thinking! It's very expensive of course but how can it not be after 26 years in the cask. If you got the cash and you can find a bottle somewhere, go for it. It's worth it. This combination of Coastal and Rural Aromas and Flavors intermingled with this mature Smoke and Peat profile provide a breath-taking mind trip to Islay. Enjoy it if you can!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       January 25, 2021


All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Mortlach 1994 (Gordon & MacPhail)


”Close To Perfection”

Whisky Review # 897

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Mortlach 1994 - Distilled: 31-08-1994
Bottled By: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin on 18-04-2017
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Cask # 8192
Age: 22 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.2% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 250-450 (December 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 It's expensive but it's worth the money!
Buying Advice: 😋 The best sherried Speysider I've tasted so far!

Colour:

Mahogany (Natural Color)

Nose:

Nice and dense Sherry with a very mild Sulphur note that actually enhances the Aroma profile. The Alcohol is perfectly integrated. The Nose is basically Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. No Bitterness whatsoever. Good Cask Management. The Nose is driven by Caramel, Dark Red Fruit and Spices. This is a well-made Sherried Speysider with a near perfect balance on the Nose. I can smell this for hours. Great Stuff!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Dark Red Fruit like Plums, Blueberries and Prunes, Candied Citrus Peel (Orange and Lemon), Roasted Coffee, Dusty Warehouse, Dried Herbs, Oak, Tobacco, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Honey, Sweet Apple, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Straw, Dark Chocolate, Buttered Pastry, Walnuts, Cinnamon, Pepper and Polished Leather Upholstery. Only a hint of the characteristic Mortlach "Meat".
Related image

Palate:

This is delicious. The Oak and Alcohol are a bit more noticeable at this point but they just add to the amazing Flavor profile. Mostly Sweet and Sour notes but with a delicate Bitterness that makes my day. Love it! As on the Nose, Toffee/Caramel, Dark Red Fruit, Herbs and Spices lead the way!

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit like Blueberries, Cherries & Plums, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Coffee, Dried Herbs, Oak, Dusty Warehouse and Spices like Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Brown Sugar, Sulphur, Mixed Nuts (Walnuts, Hazelnuts), Marzipan, Sweet Apple, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dusty Road, Polished Leather Upholstery, Orange Peel, Tobacco and Menthol.

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Mostly Sweet. A few Sour Notes & a delicate Bitterness towards the end create a nice balance. Good cask and near perfect maturation. The Alcohol is slightly noticeable at this point but I don't feel like adding Water. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Pastry, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit like Blueberries, Raspberries and Plums, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Honey, Dried Herbs, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Coffee, Hazelnuts, Orange Peel, Oak, Menthol, Polished Leather Upholstery, Tobacco and Spices like Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cardamom. There's an Earthy feel to this Finish.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to develop the Distillery character while at the same time maintaining the Sherry cask influence. You will also get more Belgian Chocolate this way. You can certainly experiment with a little Water here. It's very good either way although I prefer it without Water!

Rating: 91

Nose: 23.5 - Taste: 23 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience: Excellent

Conclusion:

Mortlach was founded in 1823 by James Findlater and is located in Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire. It is owned by Diageo. The distillery has a cult status mainly because of the 16 Years Flora & Fauna. This expression was discontinued in 2014 however and replaced by a new range that consisted of the Rare Old, Special Strength, 18 Years & 25 years. All four were mainly matured in Ex-Bourbon Barrels and were launched in 50 cl bottles at rather high prices. This move was not appreciated by the fans and in 2018 Diageo launched a new core range that consists of the 12 Year old Wee Witchie, the 16 Year old Distiller's Dram  and the 20 Year old Cowie's Blue Seal.

It's been a while since I had such a good Single Malt! I always look for balance in a good Whisky and you will find it here in abundance. Sherried Speysiders can easily become Sherry-bombs and I'm not too fond of those. But the delicate interaction between Sherry cask and spirit here takes my breath away. This is excellent cask management and I can safely say that Gordon & MacPhail is one of my favorite Independent Bottlers. A 22-Year old Mortlach can't be cheap these days but in this case it's worth the money. I would love to have a few bottles of this in my cabinet. Unfortunately I only had a sample but it's so good that it goes right to the second place in my All Time Top Whisky list. If you find it and can afford it go for it! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  December 16, 2020