Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts

Old Parr Silver Review



“Not Quite Up To Par”

Whisky Review # 811

Country: Scotland
Brand: Old Parr Silver 
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottled By: MacDonald Greenlees Distillers Ltd, Edinburgh (Diageo)
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Refill Bourbon Casks and probably a bit of Refill Sherry Wood
Chill Filtration: Yes , to minus six degrees Celsius
Price Range: US$ 20-25 (April 2019)
Buying AdviceP/Q ratio okay for Mixing Whisky. Not good enough for sipping.

Colour:

Full Gold (Artificially Coloured)

Nose

Your typical Bottom-Shelf Blended Scotch Nose. Young, Thin and Sugary Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. Grain Alcohol and Refill-Oak are noticeable. I would think that the whiskies used in this blend mainly matured in Refill Ex-Bourbon casks. I do believe there's a bit of Refill Sherry Wood involved as well. No real off-notes.

Main Aromas:

Sugared Cereals, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Figs, Nut Shells, Pineapple, Refill Oak and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Apple-Vinegar, Pear, Cloves, Ginger, Tobacco and Leather. Mere hints of Smoke and Rubber.

Tasting at Cragganmore May 2014

Palate:

Young, Thin, Sugary Sweet and slightly Watery. No real off-notes.


Main Flavours:

Sugared Cereals, Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Red Apple, Nutshells, Orange, Pepper, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toast/Biscuits, Vanilla, Lemon, Dried Herbs, Honey, Leather and Tobacco.

Finish:

Short and Thin. Sugary Sweet at First but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry End. I find Sugared Cereals, Sugared Tea, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Citrus Fruit, Dried Herbs, Grain Alcohol, Pepper, Ginger, Licorice, Tobacco, Wet Green Leaves and vague hints of Cocoa Powder and Apple.

Drinking Advice:

The Old Parr Silver does not improve with added Water.

Rating: 74

Nose: 19 - Taste: 18.5  - Finish: 18 - Overall: 18.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

This blend is named after Thomas Parr, an Englishman said to have died at the age of 152 years and nine months. Thomas was renowned during his lifetime for his wisdom and maturity. He was interred at Westminster Abbey in the year 1635. The Blend was introduced by the Greenlees brothers in 1871. Today, the two main suppliers of Malt whisky for this Blend are owned by Diageo, namely Cragganmore and Glendullan. The packaging is very retro and the bottle is quite old-fashioned as well. South America has always been one of the main markets for Old Parr. In Western Europe this Blend disappeared in the 80's.

The Silver was released in 2013. Legend has it that during a severe Scottish winter, some casks with premium whisky were left outside in the cold and snow by mistake. When they were found later it appeared that the super chilled liquid was very smooth. Inspired by this story the Blenders of Old Parr chill-filtered the Silver to minus 6 degrees Celsius.

The producers claim that the enhanced Chill-Filtration leaves the Silver much smoother than comparable blends. I have to admit that it's not a Harsh blend. It is also quite cheap and therefore you can't expect miracles. The Grain Alcohol rules and the Malt content is hardly noticeable. Old Parr Silver is Light, Young, relatively Mellow and Sugary Sweet. No off-notes. It's not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky but the good P/Q ratio makes it an alternative as a mixing Alcohol. It's also reasonable over Ice.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende .                                                                      April 3, 2019

Glendullan

Jack Daniels 100 Proof (Bottled in Bond) Review



“The Proof Is Not In The Pudding”

Whisky Review # 810

Country: USA
Brand: Jack Daniels 100 Proof
Type: Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whiskey
Age: NAS (At least 4 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: New Charred American Oak
Charcoal Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 38-45 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😐 It's okay I guess. Good choice for strong Cocktails.

Colour:

Amber with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour notes as well. The Alcohol is noticeable as was to be expected. It's a bit rough and edgy but that's normal for young Whiskey.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Cereals (Corn), Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Sour Apple, Cinnamon, Cloves and Almond Pastry.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Charred Oak, Varnish, Acetone, Glue, Banana, Orange, Straw, Coconut, Fresh Herbs like Mint and hints of Peach/Nectarine and Tobacco.

Related image

Palate:

The delivery is quite strong thanks to the high ABV. On the Palate this JD is Bitter-Sweet. Virgin Oak and Spices are prominent. A few Sour notes as well. It reminds me of the Sinatra Select.

Main Flavours:

Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Charred Oak, Sour Apples, Sweet Corn, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Banana, Coconut, Almond Paste and Orange.

Finish:

Quite Long and a little Hot. Bitter-Sweet - and some Sour notes take you to the Dry end. It's quite heavy on Virgin Oak and Spices. I find Toffee, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Sour Apple, Orange, Lemon, Butter, Pepper, Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, light Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that helps to calm down the 100 Proof on the Nose and on the Palate. This is really a matter of personal preference. Just try it out both ways.

Rating: 81.5

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks:  Good

Conclusion:

The 100 Proof was released in 2018, initially as a Travel Retail Edition only. The Bottled in Bond Designation of 1897 was a good initiative that sought to better protect Whiskey consumers from false and modified spirits. The 100 Proof seal was only awarded to Whiskey that aged for a minimum of 4 years, was distilled during a single season by one distillery and bottled at 100 Proof. The only addition allowed was Water.

The 100 Proof is basically the standard Old No. 7 with a higher ABV. It does not really convince me as a sipping Whiskey but it should work great in Cocktails. It reminds me a lot of the Sinatra Select by the way. The Silver Select remains my favourite sipping JD while Gentleman Jack and Single Barrel are the much better options on the Rocks. I can't see why JD would keep the 100 Proof in their standard portfolio. It's not a bad Whiskey but it doesn't really add a whole lot in my opinion.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 29, 2019

Image result for jack daniel distillery

Black Bottle Review



“Black Isn’t Black  Anymore”

Whisky Review # 809

Country: Scotland
Brand: Black Bottle - 2013 Relaunch
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Bottled By: Gordon Graham & Comp. Ltd. Glasgow
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Refill Bourbon Casks and probably a bit of Refill Sherry & Virgin Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 22-28 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: P/Q ratio: 👍on the Rocks. It's not a sipping Whisky though 😒

Colour:

Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Bitter-Sweet and quite Thin and Light. The Grain Alcohol rules and it represents at least 70% of this Blend. Only a touch of Peat and Smoke. There aren't any real off-notes but this smells like thirteen Blends in a dozen.

Main Aromas:

Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Dusty Refill Oak, Floral Perfume, Grass, Herbal Tea, Sultanas, Cooked Pear, Nutshells, Lemon, Pepper and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toast and Margarine, Vanilla, Heather, faint Smoke and Ashes, Banana Bread, Ginger, Cloves, Tobacco and Licorice. A little Rubber perhaps.


Palate:

Light, Thin, a little Edgy and a little Sour but mainly Bitter-Sweet.


Main Flavours:

Grain Alcohol, Sugared Cereals, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Grass/Straw, slightly Burnt Toast, Dairy, Cocoa Powder, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Ginger and Licorice. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Floral Perfume, Sour Apple, Artificially Flavoured Candies, Refill Oak, Heather, faint Smoke, Dusty Track, Plum Jam, Nut Shells and Cloves.


Finish:

Short and Bitter-Sweet with Grain Alcohol, Cereals, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Refill Oak, Nut Shells, Sultanas, Heather, light Smoke & Ashes, Herbal Tea, Hospital, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Licorice, Cocoa and a light Metallic off note.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that's not such a bad idea. It becomes less Harsh that way. Don't overdo it though as you will quickly kill this Blend.

Rating: 71

Nose: 18 - Taste: 18 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 17.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Light but Good

Conclusion:

Black Bottle was first released in 1879 by the brothers Charles, David & Gordon Graham in Aberdeen. The Blend immediately called attention as it was bottled in black glass imported from Germany. Package/Design/Bottle and the formula of the Blend have changed many times over the years. In a recent past the Black Bottle was said to contain Malt of all the Islay distilleries. It was quite a peaty affair at the time and Black Bottle had many fans although it was actually packed in a bottle made with green glass. In 2013 the new owners Burn Stewart and distiller Ian MacMillan decided to try and go back to a formula close to the one used in 1879. That meant less Smoke and more Fruitiness and balance. The Black Bottle was also restored. The Malt contents of this blend are not known but you can safely assume it contains Malt Whisky from the distilleries owned by Burn Stewart i.e. Deanston, Bunnahabhain and Tobermory (Ledaig).

I never tasted the old peaty Black Bottle so I can't make a comparison. But I'm sure the new formula won't please the old fans. The Peat & Smoke are almost gone and it has become a regular bottom-shelf blend like so many others. No real off-notes but no real pleasures as well. This is not good enough as a sipping Whisky. Since I bought a full bottle at the Travel Retail Shop I also tried it on the rocks and I must admit that that works pretty well. It's Light for sure but pleasantly enough. If you're looking for a nice sipping Whisky you should stay away but if you're looking for a cheap Drinking Whisky on the Rocks this is a good alternative!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 26, 2019

Ardbeg Mor Review - Ardbeg Kelpie Review- Ardbeg Galileo Review


“Ardbeg Special”

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. At the request of many of my readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific distillery like today or with specific bottlers, countries or regions. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review three random Ardbeg Single Malts. Enjoy!
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Image result for ardbeg mor 46%
Whisky Review # 806

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Mor 2nd Edition - Distilled 1998 - Bottled 2008 - Limited Release
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 600 - 800 (March 2019) - 4,5 liter Bottle
Buying Advice: 😋Very nice young Ardbeg.  P/Q ratio: 👎 Absurd prices!

Colour:

Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Very pleasant and well-balanced young Islay Malt. Campfire Smoke and Coastal Peat are quite present but certainly not in an annoying way. The Nose is not at all complex but if you like young Islay whisky you will love it. I wouldn't say it's better on the Nose than the regular 10 Years but it does have more balance. I like it a lot!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Smoked Fish/Shellfish sprinkled with Lemon, Tart Apple, Pear, Ashes, Tar, Polished Leather Upholstery and Bitter Chocolate with a very high percentage of Cacao.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Brown Sugar, Salt Water, Ocean Spray, Wet Sand, Pineapple, Nectarine, Smoked Ham, Iodine and Almond Marzipan.



Palate:

The relative youth of the Spirit is more noticeable at this point and also in the Finish. Still it's very pleasing and warming and it makes a great dram to enjoy on a cold and windy Islay day after a walk from Port Ellen to the distillery.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Cold Cigar Smoke, Clay, Tar, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Toffee, Fish & Shellfish, Lemon, Leather, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Tart Apple, Pear, Banana, Salt Water, Cinnamon, Almond-Marzipan, Dusty Warehouse, Licorice, Menthol and a hint of Rubber/Plastic.

Finish:

Quite Long, Sweet at first but with a little more Bitterness towards the Dry end. It's a little Edgy thanks to its relative youth. I find Toasted Barley, Cold Cigar Smoke, Wet Clay, Ashes, Tar, Toffee, Cheese, Lemon, Salted Fish and Shellfish, Salty Bacon, Toasted Almonds, Leather, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Espresso and a hint of Rubber/Plastic.

Drinking Advice:

The Mor does not benefit from added Water. The ABV of 46% is spot on.

Rating: 87

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

Drinking Experience:

Good

Conclusion:

The current Distillery was founded in 1815 by John MacDougall close to the little town of Port Ellen on the island of Islay. In 1997 the distillery was bought by The Glenmorangie Company (part of French based Moet Hennessy) from the previous owners Allied Distillers. This company closed Ardbeg between 1981 and 1989 and only produced yearly during 2 months between 1989 and 1997. As a result, Ardbeg is lacking older stocks and is almost forced to launch Limited Editions while maintaining a very limited core range that consists of the 10 Years, Corryvreckan, An Oa and the Uigeadail. Like Glenmorangie, Ardbeg likes to experiment with Wood, Toasting and NAS expressions. In 2018 Ardbeg will produce around 1,4 million liters of Alcohol.

The Ardbeg Mor First Edition was launched in 2007 and was bottled at Cask Strength. At the moment you will have to pay around U$ 1200-2000 for a 4,5 liter bottle. That's crazy!

The Ardbeg Mor Second Edition that I'm tasting today was released in 2008 and bottled at the usual Ardbeg 46%. By the way, the Gaelic word Mor means big or magnificent. Quite an appropriate name for a 4,5 liter bottle.

I've said it before and I will say it again. Limited Distillery Editions should be bought at the distillery as soon as released. After a while the bottles become scarce and prices rise through the roof. In this case that's a real pity cause this Mor is a great young Islay Malt and I would love to buy bottles of this quality at a reasonable price to be able to enjoy this Arbeg Mor and Mor. Unfortunately, only a limited number of Ardbeg fans will have access to the Mor 2nd Edition at the current price level. As a small comfort, we do still have the regular 10 Years!


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Image result for ardbeg kelpie

Whisky Review # 807

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Kelpie
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Limited Edition - 60.000 bottles
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Bourbon Casks and Virgin Black Sea Oak Casks
Chill-Filtration: No
Price Range: 140-230 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😑Average Young Malt. P/Q ratio: 👎Way too expensive!

Colour:

Golden Straw

Nose:

This is quite different from your regular Ardbeg. Not as much Peat and only mild Smoke. It's quite Sweet but not really in a Fruity way. It's more the Vanilla of the Virgin Oak. It's a rather Light Nose and there's a Young feeling to it as well. It's not really unpleasant but a bit artificial.

Main Aromas:

Toast and Margarine, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Brine, A Manure/Straw mixture, Dusty Earth, Dough, Gooseberries, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Driftwood, Herbal Tea, Cheese, Lemon, Pepper and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Sweet Barley, Heather-Honey, Toffee, Marzipan, Nectarine, Banana, Band-Aid, Wet Rocks, Plastic, Rubber, Motor Oil, Soot, Mushrooms, Ginger and Nutmeg.


Palate:

I wouldn't call it Watery but it is rather Thin. The relative Youth of the Spirit is crystal clear. The Palate is a combination of Sweet, Salty, Bitter and Green notes. Lots of Pepper, Menthol and Grassy notes.

Main Flavours:

Burnt Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Wet Earth, Cold Cigar Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Iodine, Brine, Grass, Smoked Fish/Shellfish and Bacon, Lemon, Driftwood, Grapefruit, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Menthol and Bitter Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Sweet Barley, Treacle, Heather-Honey, Dough, Dusty Track, Licorice, Rubber, Plastic, Herbal Tea, Nectarine, Marzipan, Nutmeg, Caffe Latte and Cheese.

Finish:

Quite Long and very Sweet. A bit of Woody Bitterness towards the Dry end. A little on the Light side. This is very Young Whisky in my opinion. I find Burnt Toast, Salty Toffee, Wet Peat, Grass, Brine, Tar, Ashes, Soot, Dough, Cigar Smoke, Wet Newspaper, Iodine, Rubber, Plastic, Lemon, Grapefruit, Green Apple, Smoked Fish/Shellfish, Cured Meat, Marzipan, Driftwood, White Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Menthol, Caffe Latte, Green Tea, Cheese and Cocoa.

Drinking Advice:

The Kelpie does not improve with added Water as it dangerously moves towards New Spirit.

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay

Conclusion:

The Kelpie I'm reviewing today was released in 2017 on the occasion of Feis Isle 2017. This one was bottled at 46%. A Committee Release bottled at 51.7% was released as well. According to the legend a Kelpie is a mysterious Water Spirit that might take the form of various animals such as Horses, Bulls or Dogs. The Kelpie 46% was partly matured in Ex-Bourbons Casks (around 55%) and Virgin Black Sea Oak casks from the Adyghe Republic in the Caucasus (Around 45%). The latter casks were imported by Bill Lumsden, distilling Director or Ardbeg and Glenmorangie.

I'm a big fan of Ardbeg and three of their whiskies are in my Top 20 so far. You can look it up here. But lately too many of their Limited Editions do not convince me. Let's take the Kelpie. It's a younger version of the 10 Years "enriched" with Spirit that matured in exotic Virgin Wood and sold at more than double the price of the standard 10 Years. Does that make sense! No, No and No in my opinion. I advise you to leave this stuff alone. It's not worth your money! Let's end this Review on a positive note. I do like the fact that new forms of Wood are tested and I congratulate Ardbeg in this respect. But these new ways should always seek to enhance the mature Spirit. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the Kelpie!


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Image result for ardbeg galileo

Whisky Review # 808

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Ardbeg Galileo - Limited Edition - 15000 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Distilled 1999 - Bottled June 2012
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Marsala Casks (Sicily) and Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 220-340 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😀Interesting and Different Ardbeg. P/Q ratio: 👎

Colour:

Light Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Again quite different from your basic Ardbeg. The Sweet Nose reminds me more of X-mas than of the South-Eastern coastline of Islay. There is some Peat and Smoke of course but they linger in the background. The Marsala casks are certainly noticeable but they do not overwhelm at the same time. The Nose is quite introspective so be sure to give Galileo enough "space" time in the Glass. This Nose might perhaps not please all hardcore Ardbeg fans but it is an interesting experiment nevertheless.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Caramel, (Dried) Fruit like Dark Berries, Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Red Wine, Sweet Red Apple, Fruitcake, Peat, Soft Smoke, Grass, Lemon, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Shredded Coconut, Dusty Earth, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Ashes, Wet Rock and Sand, Fish and Shellfish, Cured Meat, Roasted Nuts, Banana, Peach, Pineapple, Ginger, Cinnamon, Menthol, Charred Oak, Dairy and Leather.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour elements. The Islay notes are more present now. It's not a Fresh Fruity Sweetness. It reminds me a lot more of Fruit-Flavoured Candies really. The Palate is a bit of a mixed bag and I miss cohesion. I'm sure it's going somewhere but where exactly...

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley,Toast, Salted Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Red Apple, Fruitcake, Cold Cigar Smoke, Earthy Peat, Tar, Soot, Cured Meat and Smoked Fish, Red Wine, Toasted Nuts, Pineapple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Blackberry Flavoured Yogurt, Iodine, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Licorice, Menthol and Leather.
  
Finish:

Middle-Long, quite Spicy & Salty, Bitter-Sweet at first but slightly Sour towards the Dry end. I find Sweet Barley, Toast, Salted Caramel, Treacle, (Dried) Fruit like Plums, Raisins and Dark Berries, Red Apple, Cold Cigar Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Tar, Rubber, Grass, Herbal Tea, Red Wine, Charred Oak, Citrus, Smoked and Cured Meat, Gooseberries, Dairy, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves, Cocoa Powder and Leather. A light Metallic Off-Note right at the end as well as some Roasted Coffee Beans.


Drinking Advice:

Due to the small sample I only nosed/tasted this Galileo neat.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience:

Good and Interesting.

Conclusion:

The Galileo was launched in 2012 to celebrate Ardbeg's experiment to send a small amount of their whisky into space at the end of 2011 aiming to find out how Whisky would mature in a zero-gravity environment. The Galileo was named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Despite all this the Ardbeg Galileo does not actually contain traces of the Space Whisky.

It's not easy to judge this Galileo. It's not your average Ardbeg and at times it works a bit confusing. But it's also an interesting experiment and there's no law that says that all Ardbegs should taste the same. In fact they don't already! I wouldn't drink it on a regular basis, even if the price was reasonable which it isn't. But I do think there's a place for this type of expression in the portfolio of this distillery as not everybody appreciates drinking an ash tray. My advise to Ardbeg would be to maintain their current core range but continue to surprise us with new ideas. At a reasonable price though as otherwise the pleasures will only be shared with the happy few!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   March 20, 2019


All Pictures were taken during our visits to Ardbeg in May 2014 and May 2017

Chivas Regal XV 15 Years Review


“Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

Whisky Review # 805

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal XV
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Selectively finished in Grand Champagne Cognac Casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-70 (March 2019)
Buying Advice: 😒Okay on the Rocks but so are many blends. P/Q ratio: 👎  

Colour:

Light Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sweet and a little bit on the Thin side. I would imagine that Ex-Bourbon casks and some Sherry Wood were used for maturation. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable so I think that around 30% of this Spirit is Malt Whisky. I don't know exactly which Single Malts were used but Strathisla and Longmorn are possible candidates. The main drivers are Butterscotch, (Dried) Fruit and Citrus Peel.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grain, Buttered Toast, Butterscotch, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Artificially Flavoured Candies, Orange, Stewed Orchard Fruit, Dough, Straw, Dusty Refill Oak, Grain Alcohol and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Heather-Honey, Nutshells, Milk Chocolate & mere hints of Cognac, Peanuts, Peach Jam and Leather.

Cognac Casks

Palate:

Sugary Sweet and a little Thin. The ABV is too low for a 15 Year old Whisky. A few Bitter and Sour elements as well. The Grain Alcohol remains very present & the Cognac Finish is hardly noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Butterscotch, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricot and Plums, Stewed Apples and Pears, Citrus Peel, Dusty Refill Oak, Grapefruit Juice, Pepper and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Honey, Cloves, Ginger, Herbal Tea and a hint of Milk Chocolate.

Finish:

Middle-Long, a little Thin and Medium-Dry. Sugary Sweet at first but with some Bitterness towards the end. Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Toasted Grain, Red Apples, Pears, Lemons, Raisins, Plums, Dusty Refill Oak, Hazelnut, Pepper, Cloves, Menthol and Ginger are the main impressions.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and on the Nose the Grain Alcohol retreats and the Fruit develops. Palate and Finish practically disappear. I certainly recommend to Nose this Chivas Regal with - and without Water. It's not very interesting as a sipping Whisky but it works well over ice.

Rating: 82

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

The Chivas XV was launched in 2018, initially only for the Travel Retail Market. In the meantime it's available elsewhere as well. Some of the whiskies for this Blend were finished in Grand Champagne Cognac casks. The name XV refers both to the minimum age of the whiskies used and the traditional classification of the Cognac spirit.

I applaud the use of Cognac casks as they will certainly enhance the Fruity side of any Spirit. In the case of the Chivas Regal XV I suspect that only a part of the Malt content was finished in Cognac casks and probably not longer than a few months. As a result the influence, while noticeable, is rather limited. Still, these casks will certainly gain market share in the future in my opinion. The Chivas Regal XV is not a bad blend but it suffers from the low ABV. It's simply too Thin and too plain to consider as a sipping Malt. It's quite nice on the Rocks but a little too expensive that way. It's like being Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  March 14, 2019

Strathisla The Heart of Chivas Regal

Port Charlotte 2010 MRC 01 Review


“The Peated Promise”

Whisky Review # 804

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Port Charlotte 2010 MRC: 01 - Bottled : 2018 - 8000 Bottles
Distilled at: Bruichladdich - Limited Edition
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Around 7 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.2%
Maturation: First-Fill Bourbon - and 2nd fill Bordeaux casks. Finish: MR casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 110-120 (March 2019)
Sample provided by: Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Buying Advice: 😊Good Single Malt. P/Q ratio: 😒Quite expensive for its age!

Colour:

Dark Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A Sweet and Medium-Dry combination of Red Wine, Red Fruit and Coastal Peat. It works quite well actually. Unfortunately, the Spirit is rather young and the high ABV is a bit cumbersome. The Malt for this Port Charlotte is peated at 40 ppm but it is nicely tamed by the Red Wine casks. I can only imagine how good this Whisky could have been if matured for 12-15 years. It's still good but a bit too Rough and Edgy to fully convince.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Red Wine, Red Berries like Blueberries & Raspberries, Wet Clay, Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate and Roasted Coffee.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Lemon, Tar, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Dark Cherries, Oak Char, Nuts,  Salted Fish/Shellfish/Bacon, Straw, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon and Mint.


Palate:

Mainly Sweet with a little Bitterness towards the end. The high ABV can't hide the relative Youth of the Spirit. Peat and Smoke are much more noticeable at this point.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Wet Peat, Cold Smoke, Hospital, Ashes, Salted Caramel, Red Berries, Red Wine, Orange, Charred Oak, Fish/Shellfish/Bacon on the BBQ, Nuts, Lemon-Grass and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Coconut, Tar, Soot, Dark Cherries, Straw/Grass, Salted Nuts, Dried Herbs, Tobacco, Leather, Cinnamon, Cloves and Licorice.


Finish:

Sweet, Ashy and Dry. Peat and Smoke are more noticeable now. I find Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Sweet Peat, Hospital, Ashes, Charred Oak, Banana, Dark Red Fruit, Red Wine, Salted Fish/Bacon, Nuts, Espresso, Lemon-Grass, Citrus Fruit, Pepper, Cloves, Leather, Licorice, Herbal Tea, Tobacco and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and on the Nose the rather Sharp Alcohol retreats. The Peat comes more to the forefront now while the Fruit is less intense. The Palate becomes a little more Creamy but the Finish looses intensity. As usual, this is a personal matter but a few added drops can't hurt in my opinion.

Rating: 86.5 

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

Drinking Experience:

Good

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and William and James Greenless. In 2003 the distillery was bought by Burn Stewart Distilleries, part of Distell Int. Ltd. The distillery and surroundings really needed investments as we witnessed during our visits in 2014 and 2017. And finally this is really going to happen. Some warehouses will be demolished and new ones will be constructed closer to the sea. All other buildings will be refurbished and a much needed new Visitor Centre will be created. All this will probably be ready by 2022.

The distillery produces over 2 million litres per year of which 35% is peated. The core range includes the 12, 18, 25 and 40 Years as well as the peated Toiteach A Dha and Stiuireadair.

The Port Charlotte I'm reviewing today was released in 2018. It is made with 100% Scottish Barley from the Invernesshire region. The Spirit matured for 50% in First-Fill Bourbons casks and 50% Second Fill French Red Wine casks that were subsequently married and finished for a year in Red Wine casks from the Bordeaux Chateau Mouton Rothschild. That explains the MRC in the name of this Single Malt. In the old days it was usual to ship French Wine in casks to the UK to be bottled there. These casks were then bought by the Whisky industry to mature their Spirit. This lasted until cheaper Bourbon casks became available. The MRC 01 seeks to revive this relationship between Scotland and France.

The Port Charlotte 2010 MRC 01 is a good Single Malt but it could have been a great one. How? The maturation time should be increased to 12-15 Years. That would automatically bring the ABV to a more suitable level. The MR Finish could be a bit longer and/or you could introduce a number of First-Fill Red Wine casks to the maturation. As so often is the case, the idea behind the MRC 01 is good but it simply does not get enough time to truly develop its potential. It's still a good Single Malt but it could have been so much more!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    March 1, 2019