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

Writer's Tears Red Head Review



“Red Card”

Whisky Review # 846

Country: Ireland
Brand: Writer's Tears Red Head - Limited Edition 12.000 bottles
Bottled/Distilled/Matured in bond for: Walsh Whiskey Ltd, Carlow (2016)
Distilled at: Undisclosed. Bushmills perhaps.
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Oloroso-Seasoned Sherry Butts.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😏Borderline okay at around US 45.
Buying Advice: 👎This simply needs more cask time. Too Young and Rough.

Colour: Deep Amber with shades of Red (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Thin, slightly Sharp and Metallic. The Sherry casks are hardly noticeable. This almost smells more like a German Fruit Brandy (Obstler) than a Whiskey. A strange mixture of cheap Perfume and Varnish. There's also a sort of artificial Candy Sweetness to it. Make sure you give this Red Head enough time in the glass before Nosing. It does settle down with time and becomes less Sharp.

Main Aromas:

Malt, Grass, Yeast, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Melon, Cherry, Pineapple and Pear), Apple, Sour Berries, Orange, Peach, Refill Oak, Pepper, Aniseed and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Caramel, Honey, Lemon, Dried Fruit like Plums and Sultanas, Mixed Nuts, Milk Chocolate and Nougat.


Palate:

Young, Thin, Bitter-Sweet and Hot. This is not fully-matured Whiskey. Some light Sherry influence is nevertheless noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Plums) Mixed Nuts, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Pineapple, Melon, Grapes, Dark Red Fruit), Orange, Refill Oak, Nougat, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed & Mint.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Sharp/Hot/Young. Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, Orange, Sour Wine, Refill Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Mint and Licorice. After a while the Artificial Fruit Flavour returns.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water relaxes this Whiskey but you will loose most of the Aromas and Flavours. Better sip it neat!

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay.

Conclusion:

Walsh Whiskey company was founded as Hot Irishman Ltd in 1999 by Bernard & Rosemary Walsh with the idea to blend and bottle the perfect Irish Coffee. In 2006 the company signed a long-term supply agreement with a distillery for the distilling and maturation of Irish Whiskey to their specifications. The Irishman blend was launched in 2007 followed by Writer's Tears in 2009. The latter is a vatting of Single Malt and Single Pot Still Whiskeys. In 2014 the construction of Royal Oak distillery (Carlow) was started in a partnership with Lllva Saronno, the Italian drinks giant. The distillery started production in 2016. Unfortunately the partnership with Lllva Saronno as well as the involvement with the Royal Oak distillery ended this year as the partners differed with respect to the development of the distillery in the future. I would not be surprised if the dispute was about the concept of Craft Distillery Vs. Global Whiskey Producer.

The Red Head, named after its reddish colour, is a Single Malt Whiskey. As can be seen above, the Royal Oak distillery only started producing in 2016. That means of course that this Red Head was distilled by an undisclosed third party. I would not be surprised if it was Bushmills by the way. In any case I got lots of Writer's Tears when Nosing and Tasting this Whiskey. It's simply too Young, too Hot, too Artificial and too Unfinished to convince me. There are interesting Aromas and Flavours but they are simply under-developed. It's a Shame really and the name Red Head almost seems to confirm this 😜.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 13, 2019

Amrut Greedy Angels Batch # 2 Review



“One Greedy Angel Does Not Make an Indian Summer”

Whisky Review # 845

Country: India
Region: Bangalore
Brand: Amrut Greedy Angels Batch # 02 - Chairman's Reserve
Type: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8 Years - Bottled in June 2017
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: Around US$ 270 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Way too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😐 Lots of people seem to love it. I think it's okay!

Colour: Copper with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Amrut enough time in the glass before Nosing. The Alcohol is slightly Sharp at first. It smells quite mature for an 8 Year old but there's a little edge there as well. Did this Amrut perhaps mature in refill casks? Judging by the colour this seems hardly unlikely unless the casks were heavily charred. In any case this edgy note diminishes with time so be patient here! On the Nose this Amrut is mainly Sweet and Fruity with a few Dusty, Meaty & Tart notes that provide balance. The influence of the peated Barley is very limited.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Yeast, Mixed Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, Plums), Tropical Fruitcake prepared with Mango, Banana, Pineapple and Papaya, Dusty Charred Oak, Orange and Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Straw, Mandarin, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Lemon, Meat on the BBQ, Wet Paper, Tobacco, Gooseberries,  Ginger and Varnish.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and quite Dry. The Alcohol is quite present and not fully integrated. The Oak is much more noticeable as well. There's certainly a lot going on but to me it feels like an orchestra without a conductor.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Brown Sugar, Yeast, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Apricots and Plums), Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Dusty Charred Oak, Fresh Ginger, 
Tropical Fruitcake prepared with Papaya, Mango, Pineapple & Banana, Nutmeg and Cardamom.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Buttered Toast, Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Butterscotch, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Orange, Grapefruit, Tobacco and Pepper.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and a little on the Hot side. Quite Dry in the end. The Oak influence is quite significant by now. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. I find Malted and Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dusty Charred Oak, Forrest Floor, Charred Pineapple, Banana, Apple, Mango, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Tobacco, Pepper, Cardamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. It does not really change the general profile but it's much more comfortable this way. I would advise you to add a few drops in this case.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

The Amrut distillery is located in Kumbalgodu, just outside Bangalore. It started producing Whisky in the Mid-80's but the first Amrut Single Malt was released in 2004. The Greedy Angels I'm reviewing today was launched in 2013. At that time it was the oldest Amrut Malt. In the meantime 10 & 12 year expressions of Greedy Angels have been released as well. These are remarkable ages given the fact that the annual evaporation in India is huge (12%) on account of the hot & humid climate. Greedy Angels can't be cheap therefore. Greedy Angels B. 2 is made with unpeated Indian Malt and a little peated Scotch Barley.

I wanted to love this Amrut as many people whom I know were enthusiastic about this Indian Single Malt. It's not bad for sure but I can't really get into this Greedy Angels and I'm not sure why. For one the ABV seems to high for this Spirit. Adding Water helps here but does not solve my main problems with this Amrut. Even with added Water there remains a funny kind of Sharpness that I usually find with blended Scotch, matured in lack luster refill Wood. That can't be the case here but I am truly puzzled what causes this. The second and more important issue is the fact that, while there are lots of Aroma and Flavour impressions, they do not seem to form a cohesive collective. It's a bit messy in my opinion. As a result of the high Angel's Share this Indian Single Malt is quite expensive. Considering the above you won't see me buy a full bottle!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 10, 2019

Related image

Woodford Reserve Cherry Wood Smoked Barley Review


“Too Hot To Trot”
Whisky Review # 844

Country: USA
Region: Kentucky
Brand: Woodford Reserve Cherry Wood Smoked Barley (Master's Collection)
Distilled at: Woodford Reserve/Brown-Forman Distillery, Versailles, Kentucky
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45.2%
Maturation: New Charred American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: Around US$ 100 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎The Cherry Wood extra does not justify the high price.
Buying Advice:  See Price/Quality Ratio

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Woodford some time in the glass before Nosing. Even if you do that though, the Alcohol remains noticeable. There is a little Cherry and Smoke to be found but it's certainly not overpowering. It's a little bit closer to Scotch Whisky thanks to the relatively high Malted Barley content. This limits the Sweet Corn Aroma on the Nose. I'm not sure if traditional Bourbon fans will appreciate that.

Main Aromas:

Butterscotch, Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Sweet Grains, Malted Barley, Yeast, Resin, Orange, Salted Nuts, Damp Cellar, Cocoa Powder and Fresh Herbs like Mint and Coriander.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Glue, Smoke, Maraschino Cherries, Apricot, Blackberry Muffins, Forrest Floor, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Pepper.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and quite strong. The Alcohol is very present. It kind of misses that soothing Sweet feeling that standard Bourbons can give you. Although, the regular Woodford is also more Edgy and less Sweet than say Maker's Mark, one of my favourite affordable Bourbons.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Demerara Sugar, Salted Nuts, Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Maraschino Cherries, Yeast, Ashes, Butterscotch, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Sweet Grains, Vanilla, Honey, Apricot, Orange, Wet Rock, Damp Oak, Tea, Leather and Pepper.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and quite Edgy. The Alcohol bites a little. Quite Dry towards the end. The Cherry Wood influence is certainly more clear at this point. But in a kind of medicinal way. I can't say I like it a lot. I find Barley, Grains, Oat Biscuits (I know it shouldn't be there!), Demerara Sugar, Butter, Vanilla, Yeast, Resin, Salted Nuts, BBQ-Smoke, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Damp Wood, Cocoa Powder, Ashes, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol and Nutmeg.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol on the Nose. The Malt and Fruity Aromas (Peach, Apricot) develop. But other than that it is really starting to smell like Pizza Dough. Palate and Finish benefit as well from the fact that the Alcohol retreats.The Finish becomes one big Cherry/Menthol flavoured Cough pastille though. A little water gets rid of the strong Alcohol and gives some extra Fruit on the Nose. But it does not develop the Palate and turns the Finish in a medicinal treat. It's up to you as always to find your preferred level. You can certainly add a few drops though!

Rating: 80

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay.

Conclusion:

The Master's Collection (Limited Editions) started in 2006 and the Cherry Wood Smoked Barley is the 12th release in the meantime. According to the distillery it pays tribute to past distillery industry leaders Oscar Pepper and James Crow. The Cherry Wood differs from the regular Woodford where it exclusively uses Corn(70%) and Malted Barley (30%). No Wheat and/or Rye therefore. The 30% Malted Barley content is much higher than in your regular Bourbon (15-20%). The Malted Barley for this Whiskey has been smoked with Cherry Wood during the kilning process.

I'm not a huge fan of Woodford although I love their bottles! But their regular Bourbon is also a bit harsh and less comforting Sweet as Bourbons like Maker's Mark. The Cherry-Wood Smoked Barley does in fact reinforce that issue. The Malted Barley clearly controls the Sweet Corn and bridges the gap with Scotch Whisky. So it ends up in No-Man's land if you ask me. The Cherry Wood is not a failed experiment but I can't see it reaching out to many Bourbons fans as it's more edgy and less comfortable than your usual day-to-day Bourbon. And the really high price does not help either. Limited Editions are meant to be a bit special and in that respect Cherry Wood certainly scores. But for many Bourbon fans it might be a bit too special. To me it is!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 6, 2019

That Boutique -Y 12 Years Batch 2 (2018) Review



“Half a Boy and Half a Man”

Whisky Review # 843

Country: Ireland
Brand: That Boutique-Y Whiskey Company - Batch 2 - 429 bottles
Distilled at: Unknown (Cooley or Bushmills) - Released March 2018
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48.6%
Maturation: Probably Ex-Bourbon Cask(s)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 75 (December 2019) - 0,5 Litre!
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎The Whiskey is okay but too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😑It's not bad but it doesn't work for me personally.

Colour: Pale White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Did Batch # 2 only use Ex-Bourbon casks or is there some New Oak involved as well. I get impressions from both actually. The Nose is Grassy, Fruity and a bit Mineral. It's Sweet but not overly so. The Alcohol is noticeable. Be sure to give this Single Malt enough time in the glass before Nosing as it opens rather slowly.

Main Aromas:

Malt Biscuits, Vanilla, Grass, Wax, Paint-Thinner, Nougat, Pear, Apple, Freshly Cut Wood, Resin, Pineapple, Mixed Nuts, Fresh Herbs (Mint, Coriander, Thyme) and Green Plants.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Honey, Marshmallow, Green Banana, Melon, Tangerine, Lemon, White Wine, Damp Cellar, Iron, Cinnamon, Salt, Ginger and Pepper.

Bushmills

Palate:

A mixture of Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Salty notes. It's a bit Sharp for my liking. I'm not really seduced to have another sip if you know what I mean.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Vanilla, Wax, Salted Butter, Pear, Apple, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Orange, Salted Nuts (Almonds), Pepper and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Resin, Lemon, Plums, Melon, Nougat, Fresh Herbs, White Chocolate and Cinnamon.

Finish:

Middle-Long and slightly Sharp. Sweet, Salty, Bitter & Sour notes. Dry towards the end. I manage to identify Malted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Wax, Grass, Butter, Salted Almonds, Nougat, Apple, Pear, Green Banana, Grapefruit, Lemon, Kiwi, Plums, Pepper, Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that develops the Green notes and introduces a few Floral notes as well. The sharpness decreases on the Nose, Palate and Finish and that's a good thing. The Finish does become shorter this way and slightly Thin as well. As always, this is a very personal thing. But you can certainly add a few drops in this case.

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

That Boutique-Y Whisky Company is a Trading Name of Atom Supplies Ltd of Tonbridge in Kent (UK). The company bottles Single Malts & Grains, Bourbon, Blended Whisky and Blended Malt Whisky using a variety of renowned distilleries and labelling their bottles with fun, informative, humorous graphics, jokes and puns.

The 12 Years I'm tasting today was bottled in March 2018. I don't really know what to write about it. I found it to be okay but not more than that. It didn't touch me neither positively nor negatively. I  just would not fancy another dram of it. The Nose is the best part. But Palate and Finish possess a few Bitter, Sour & Varnish notes that don't quite work for me. Are the casks to blame or should it have matured longer? Whatever the reason(s), I'm a bit disappointed with this or that Boutique-Y. Can't help it! And, by the way, I think it's Bushmills!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 3, 2019

Cooley

Blair Athol 1988 (Sansibar) Review


“Simply Irresistible”

Whisky Review # 842

Country: Scotland
Region: Southern Highlands
Brand: Blair Athol 1988
Bottled by: Sansibar Whisky GmbH, Bad Nenndorf, Germany- 203 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.7% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 240 (November 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: Good
Buying Advice: 😋It can't be cheap but it's delicious! Go for it!

Colour: Pale Gold/Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Soft, Mature, Pleasant, Malty and Fruity. Sweet but not overly so. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. A few Dusty Warehouse notes.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Fresh Pastry, Bread, Mixed Breakfast Cereals, Grass, Dusty Straw, Wax, Salted Nuts, Fruit Cake with layers of Pineapple, Mango and Apple, Dusty Oak and a squeeze of Lime.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Sultanas, Slivovitz, Fresh Herbs, Nectarine, Mandarin, Banana, Pear, Ginger and Cinnamon.



Palate:

The first word that comes to mind is Tasty! The combination of Creamy Malt and Sweet (Tropical) Fruit is simply delicious. A few Bitter, Dusty & Salty notes provide the necessary balance. Very nice!

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Fresh Pastry, Wax, Tropical Fruit Cake with layers of Pineapple, Mango, Papaya, Banana and Apple, Salted Nuts, Mandarins in heavy Syrup, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Leather, Tobacco and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Orange, Lemon, Tangerine, Fresh Herbs, Green Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Licorice.



Finish:

Middle-Long, Creamy and Sweet. A few light Bitter/Salty notes provide balance. Quite Fresh and Vibrant considering its age. The Finish really invites you to have another sip. Well done! I find Malted & Toasted Barley, Pastry, Vanilla, Tropical Fruit Cake, Heather-Honey, Banana, Mandarin, Lemon, Slivovitz, Salted Nuts, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Tobacco, Leather, Fresh Herbs, Green Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Menthol, Wax and light Nutmeg and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and Fruity, Floral and Malty notes develop even more. It does move slightly in the direction of Tropical Fruit Liqueurs though. In prefer it neat but you you can certainly play with a few drops.

Rating: 89.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Excellent

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in Pitlochry (Pertshire) in 1798 by John Stewart and Robert Robertson, initially under the name Aldour. Only in 1825 did it receive its current name. It was mothballed in 1932 and bought by Arthur Bell & Sons, a family owned Blender. Production restarted in 1949 and from then on and until today Blair Athol became the heart of Bell's Blended Whisky. Eventually, the distillery, via take-overs, became part of Diageo. Only very few Single Malts are launched from time to time by Blair Athol so we mostly depend on independent bottlers in this respect. The only regular official bottling is the 12 Years Flora & Fauna. Blair Athol produces around 2 million litres of Alcohol per year.

I must congratulate both Blair Athol and Sansibar for producing this excellent Single Malt. It once again proves what a good Fruity Spirit, a good Cask and a perfect maturation can do. Mind you, this Blair Athol isn't extremely complex. It's a rather straightforward combination of Creamy Malt and Tropical Fruit. What does make the difference are these subtle notes of Dusty Oak, Tobacco, Herbs, Leather and Spices. It's simply delicious. A Single Cask of this age can't be very cheap of course but if you can still find it I advise you to go for it. You won't be disappointed. Blair Athol should really consider to focus a bit more on their Single Malt potential despite the obvious profitability of the Bell's Blend!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              November 14, 2019

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Glenfiddich 15 Years Distillery Edition Review


“Ordinary World”

Whisky Review # 841

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 51%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Oloroso casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (October 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay
Buying Advice: 😑Okay for starters. Not interesting enough for regulars.

Colour:

Deep Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

A little too Edgy and "Hot" for a matured Speysider. The Alcohol is noticeable. I would suspect that mainly Refill casks were used. A little Sulphur perhaps but nothing too serious. The Sherry Wood is noticeable. On the Nose this Glenfiddich presents a mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Floral notes. It is definitively quite modern and "mainstream". It 's not bad but I can't get excited about it either.

Main Aromas:

Barley Sugar, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Orange Marmalade, Toasted Nuts, Charred Oak, Milk Chocolate, Grapefruit Juice, Pepper, Cinnamon and Leather.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Apple, Pear, Mandarin, Pineapple, Dusty Straw, Dried Herbs, Coconut, Nutmeg, Cloves and Lemon-Pepper.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. The Alcohol remains quite present. It tastes younger than its actual age.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Apple, Pear, Hazelnuts, Orange Marmalade, Mandarin, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Clove, Pepper, Nutmeg and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Butterscotch, Black Currant Cake, Wet  Rocks, Ginger, Mustard and Leather.


Finish:

Middle-Long & Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes.The Alcohol remains noticeable. It is quite consistent with Nose and Palate. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Heather-Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Sultanas, Hazelnut paste, slightly Bitter Orange and Grapefruit Juice, Apple, Pear, Lemon, Grapes, Oak Char, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice, Mustard & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that eases the slightly "rough" character of this Malt. Other than that it basically remains unchanged. Just add a few drops and see how you like it best.

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

Glenfiddich was founded in Dufftown in 1886 by William Grant. It's one of the few distilleries that is still in the hands of the founder's family. In the year 1963 it became the first whisky that was marketed worldwide as a Single Malt. It was the first Single Malt to appear in the Travel Retail/Duty Free shops as well and the chance is very big that Glenfiddich was your first Single Malt. It was mine anyhow. It is also the first distillery that opened a visitor centre, back in 1969. The current core range consists of the 12, 15, 18, 21, 26, 30  and 40 years old. We visited the distillery in May 2014 and May 2019. Despite the large number of visitors they still do a good job on the Tours.

The 15 DE I'm reviewing today is around for a while and is available at the distillery and some Travel Retail Shops. It's not a bad Whisky but it has all the slightly boring characteristics of many of today's Single Malts. I have a specific issue with this Glenfiddich though. It smells & tastes a little rough and not fully matured. I must blame the indifferent refill Wood for that. This 15 DE will most certainly appeal to new whisky drinkers and that's most likely the idea behind it. But it doesn't convince me. It's all a bit plain & without any "Wow" moments. The P/Q ratio is okay if you can get it at around US$ 50.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 24, 2019

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Michel Firino Martell Bas Armagnac 1982 Review - Michel Firino Martell Single Malt 1994 Speyside Review - Michel Firino Martell Single Malt 1995 Speyside Review


“Michel Firino Martell Special”

Whisky Review # 838

Country: France
Region: Armagnac
Brand: Michel Firino Martell Bas Armagnac Ugni Blanc 1982 
Type: Single Cask Bas-Armagnac - Limited Edition- 998 Bottles (2 Single Casks)
Age: 33 Years (Bottled: July 2015)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45.6%
Maturation: Oak Barrels
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: - (October 2019). Please contact seller.
All of today's reviewed samples provided by Michel from France. Many Thanks!
Buying Advice: 😃 Excellent, well-matured after-dinner Spirit.

Colour:

Mahogany (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It's been more than 15 years since I had my last Armagnac and it's my first take on this Spirit since I started Best Shot Whisky Reviews back in 2011. So I am  very curious. Okay, let's go! On the Nose this Armagnac presents very mature Aromas of Fruit, Nuts, Caramel, Wood and Spices. A mature American Rye Whiskey comes to my mind. It's still remarkably Fresh for a 33 Year old Spirit. The Oak is there of course but it doesn't completely dominate the other aromas. Good Wood Management. Sweet but not in a cloying way. Some Bitter notes for balance. Quite Dry. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. You can nose this Armagnac for more than half an hour and that's what I did in fact.

Main Aromas:

Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Roasted Almonds and Hazelnuts, Nougat, Seville Oranges, Papaya Cream with Creme de Cassis, slightly Musty Oak, Pine Resin, Tobacco and Pepper.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Butterscotch, Honey, Polished Leather Upholstery, Floral Soap, Peach, Lemon, Dried Herbs, Dark Chocolate, Nutmeg and Aniseed.

Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Fruity, Spicy and a bit Woody. The Age becomes more clear now. This Bas-Armagnac matured quite nicely though!

MFMBasArmagnac1982-elite-selection.jpg

Main Flavours:

Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Roasted Hazelnuts, Seville Orange, Peach, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Tobacco, Pepper and Menthol.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Roasted Marshmallows, Mulled Wine, Rye, Honey, slightly Musty Oak, Pine Resin, Marzipan, Lemon, Licorice, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Finish:

Quite Long, Bitter-Sweet, Fruity, Spicy and Woody. The Spirit clearly shows its old age here but not in a tired sort of way. I find Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Pine Resin, Musty Wood, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Seville Orange, Red Wine, Roasted Chestnuts, Dark Chocolate, Leather, Tobacco, Lemon-Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Licorice and Peach-filled Puff Pastry.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and although there's some Fruit development on the Nose, the Palate becomes less interesting and the Finish quite a bit shorter. The ABV is spot-on here and there's no need to add water.

Rating: 88

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Nice.

Conclusion:

In 1994, Michel Firino Martell started selling and representing Martell Cognac in America, South-America and Asia. When the Martell label was acquired in 2001 by Pernod-Ricard, Michel decided to join other Family estates dedicated to the "Terroir" of their wines and spirits. Finally, in 2006 he launched Elite Selection, a wine merchant company dedicated to fine wine and spirits located in the city of Bordeaux. This vehicle gives Michel the opportunity to create limited editions of spirits & champagnes next to the commercialisation of rare and old wines from the best chateaux. The limited spirit editions include Armagnac and Single Malt Whisky from Scotland and France. These Spirits are finished in Michel's bonded warehouse in Glasgow and bottled by Michel as well. You can find all relevant information and prices on Michel's new Website Elite Selection.

The two casks used for this selection aged in the cellars of the Gelas house. It was distilled from the Ugni Blanc grape variety in Bas-Armagnac situated in the "departements" Landes and Gers. This grape is also used for the production of Cognac.

I didn't really know what to expect but I'm quite pleased with the quality of this Bas-Armagnac. It's well-matured and the Oak is not as overpowering as could be expected after 33 years. I loved the Nose. Good Cask Management as well. This is not for every day of course but this Armagnac seems perfect to end a fine special dinner. I will certainly try to review some other Armagnacs in the future.

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Whisky Review # 839

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Distilled at: Braeval
Brand: Michel Firino Martell Single Malt 1994 Speyside
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition- 304 Bottles
Age: 23 Years - Distilled 20-12-1994 - Bottled in August 2017
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55.4% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask (Heaven Hill)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ - Please contact seller (October 2019)
Buying Advice: 😀 Good "old style" Bourbon Malt with character. A bit Oaky. 

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

This is only my third Braeval review so I don't have a lot of experience with this distillery. Please give this 1994 enough time in the glass as it opens up slowly. On the Nose this Braeval can't hide his age as the slightly Dusty Bourbon Wood makes itself known. It's Fruity but not overly Sweet. Some Grassy, Waxy and Dairy notes as well. The Alcohol is reasonably well-integrated. This Braeval is quite introspective on the Nose. It doesn't immediately show you what it's got so you have to look for it. To find the Fruity notes it's best to Nose around the brim of the glass.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Wax, Grass, Pear, Apple, Orange, Peach Marmalade, Charred Oak, Resin, Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon & Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Banana Ice-Cream, Floral Soap, Caffe Latte, Mango Cream, Tinned Pineapple, Sugared Almonds, Dried Apricot and Sultanas. 

Palate:

Bitter-Sweet. Quite strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. On the Palate this Braeval clearly shows its age. The Fruit is still there but it fights for survival against the Dusty Wood and Wood Spice notes.

MFMwhisky1994_Montagne-2-elite-selection

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Butter-Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Resin, Grass and Straw, slightly Musty Wood, Peach-filled Puff-Pastry, Apple, Seville Orange, Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Butterscotch, Heather-Honey, Floral Soap, Sugared Almonds, Caffe Latte, Tinned Pear and Pineapple, Cinnamon and a touch of Lemon.

Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet, Fruity and Buttery at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end when Wood and Wood Spices take over. You can certainly tell its age by now. I find Sweet Barley, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Resin, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Wax, Hay, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Apples, Seville Orange, Herbal Tea, Milk-Chocolate, Peach-Flavoured Yogurt, slightly Dusty Wood, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Licorice, Ginger and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Alcohol subdues of course thereby giving more room to the Fruit on the Nose. Wood and Wood Spices are more balanced with the other Flavours on the Palate. The Finish becomes less intense. You can certainly add a few drops to this Braeval.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Braeval distillery was founded in 1973 by Chivas Brothers to secure Single Malt for their blends. In 2001, Chivas was bought by Pernod-Ricard. The current annual production capacity amounts to 4,2 million litres. In 2017 the distillery released its first official bottling, a 16 Year old Single Cask.

This Braeval does not give itself away very easily and you have to dig to find all nuances. That only makes it more interesting though. This is a well-made Malt and a far cry from today's Mainstream Malt Madness. It is a bit on the Woody side though and I think it would have been even better if bottled a few years earlier. This bottling clearly shows that Braeval has Single Malt potential and it's a pity that most Spirit "disappears" in the Chivas Blends.


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Whisky Review # 840

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Distilled at: Tormore
Brand: Michel Firino Martell Single Malt 1995 Speyside
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition- 297 Bottles
Age: 22 Years - Distilled June 15, 1995 - Bottled January 2018
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55.2% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ - Please contact seller (October 2019)
Buying Advice: 😃Solid Well-Balanced Bourbon-Matured Speysider.

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Tormore enough time in the glass as it opens up slowly. The Alcohol is quite strong so you need to find your way around it. Don't stick your nose in the middle of the glass but carefully follow the brim. On the Nose this Tormore is Medium-Sweet while a few Sour notes provide some balance. The Oak is quite present of course. This is a more "classic" Bourbon-matured Single Malt. You get the basic Aromas and Flavours you would expect.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Cake with Whipped Cream, Dusty Charred Oak, Pineapple-Flavoured Yogurt, Milk Chocolate, Orchard Fruit and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Butterscotch, Toffee, Caramel, Dusty Country Track, Orange, Mango Cream, Coconut, Banana ice-Cream, Sour Berries, Lemon Pepper, Fresh Herbs and Menthol.

Palate:

Good delivery. It's more pronounced than the slightly timid Nose would lead you to believe. It's Sweet and Sour and quite Creamy and really invites you to take another sip.

MFM-Single-Malt-Scotch-Whisky-1995_sea.j

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Fruit Cake with Whipped Cream, Apple, Banana, Milk Chocolate, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint and Aniseed.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Brown Sugar, Straw, Bounty Bars, Orange, Berries, Marzipan, Lemon-Pepper and Cardamom.

Finish:

Middle-Long but quite powerful thanks to the high ABV. Its age is clear and Oak and Wood Spice lead the way. A mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes provides a balanced Medium-Dry finish nevertheless. Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Marzipan, Hay, Sugared Almonds, Marzipan, Milk Chocolate, Bounty Bars, Pear, Orange, Banana Ice Cream, Cinnamon, Pepper, Aniseed, Mint, Licorice and Tobacco.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and Malty, Floral (Heather) and Fruity (Nectarine perhaps) notes develop. The Alcohol retreats a little on the palate and my advise is to carefully add a few drops until you find your preferred balance. The Finish is more Spicy this way.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Tormore distillery was founded in 1958 by Schenley Int, the owners of Long John Blended Whisky. In 2005 it was bought by Chivas Brothers (Pernod-Ricard) that needed additional Single Malt whisky for their Blends. The only two current Single Malts (14 and 16 Years) were released by the distillery in 2014.

I just noticed I gave the two Single Malts the same rating. That's correct from a quality point of view as they are both well made Speyside Malts. But they are quite different types of Whisky. The Tormore is a little closed on the Nose but immediately shows its hand on the palate and in the Finish. It's a Whisky that comes to you. In the case of the Braeval you will have to dig deeper to get to the soul. You have to explore the Malt until you find what hides behind the Oak. But both are well-made Single Malts and show much more character than the mainstream Speyside Malts that overflow the market in recent years. These well-matured Single malts can't be cheap of course so they can't be considered as daily drams. But they make for perfect birthday presents to enjoy sip by sip.


Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 14, 2019