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

Arran 21st Anniversary Limited Edition Review

“Fighting Spirit”

Whisky Review # 660

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran 21st Anniversary Limited Edition (Special Release)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 52.6%
Maturation: Sherry Casks   
Chill Filtration: No    
Price Range: US Dollars 200-250 (November 2017)
Buying Advice: 😏 Not bad but too expensive. Go for the 18 Years! 

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose: Sherry casks without any doubt. Some New Wood as well I think as I pick up this typical Varnish note I always find in West-European mainland Malt. A distant hint of Sulphur but nothing serious. Sweet and Sour notes are both present on the Nose. I find Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Pear, Sweet Apple, Orange, Mandarin, Mango-Chutney, Pineapple in Heavy Syrup, Raisins, Heather-Honey, Wax, Hazelnuts (Nutella), Dusty Road, Chocolate Milk (Chocomel), Ginger, Nutmeg, light Pepper, Lemongrass and Mint. Distant hints of Green Vegetables, Wet Paper, Armagnac and Tobacco. It's a bit of a mixed bag and while it's not bad, I miss a bit of direction and balance. The Alcohol is reasonably well-integrated though.

Beautiful Arran - May 2017

Palate: Strong Delivery thanks to the more than adequate ABV. Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. I find Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Marzipan, Red Apple, Pear, Orange, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Peach, Hazelnuts (Nutella), Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Tobacco, Oak, Sultanas, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Dried Herbs and Dirt Track. The Oak is quite strong by now.                

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Quite Dry and Tannic. Some Bitter notes towards the end. The Oak is even more present at this stage. I find Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Sweet Apple, Orange, Mandarin, Lemon, Marzipan, Dark Chocolate, Assorted Nuts (Almonds, Hazelnut), Espresso, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Tobacco, Dried Herbs and hints of Varnish, Sulphur, Rhubarb and Peach-Flavoured Yogurt.  

Drinking Advice:
I added a little Water and the Alcohol retreats of course. But although this Arran gets more Creamy on the Palate, it's just not the same Whisky anymore. I often wonder if I should continue adding Water to the Whiskies I review. Sure, you may get some additional Flavours and/or Aromas but you change the character of the Whisky as presented by the Makers. If you have any thoughts on this issue, please let me know!

Rating: 85.5 

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

General Remarks:
🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) are in the process of building another distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran that will probably take care of the peated expressions. Production of this new distillery could start in 2018. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 14 and 18 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Lochranza Reserve and Machrie Moore. We visited this distillery in May this year and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit more so as the isle of Arran is a very nice and relatively quiet place. 

In June 2016, the distillery celebrated its 21st birthday, a.o. by launching the Whisky I'm reviewing today. It's a limited edition and only 5988 bottles went for sale. It's a NAS Whisky but it was made by vatting selected casks from the first three years of production (1995, 1996, 1997). This special release was bottled at Cask Strength.

Visit May 2017
🍷  The Spirit 

The average fermentation time at Arran is 60 hours. The Distillery operates four Stills. The Lyne arms are practically straight and produce a Light, Sweet, Fruity Spirit. The Water is sourced from Loch na Davie. The current Master-Distiller is James MacTaggart who just celebrated his 10th anniversary with Arran.

Visit May 2017
🌲  The Wood:

The Whisky used to compose this Limited Edition matured 100% in Ex-Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads.

Drinking Experience: Good. I expected more though.

ConclusionI like this Distillery and their concept but this Limited Edition is not among my favourite Arran expressions although it's not bad. But it lacks balance and cohesion. It's almost as Wood and Spirit didn't really come to terms with each other. Maybe the Arran Spirit is too Gentle to mature in 100% Ex-Sherry casks. Who knows! In any case this Arran, while not bad, is way too expensive for what it offers. My advise would be to leave this baby alone and go for the 18 Years instead.   

Jan van den Ende                                                              November 23, 2017

Visit May 2017

Springbank 18 Years Review

“A Dirty Mind is a Joy Forever”

Whisky Review # 660

Country: Scotland
Region: Campbeltown
Brand: Springbank
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years (Bottled 2016)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: A Mix of Sherry - and Bourbon casks  
Chill Filtration: No   
Price Range: US Dollars 150-180 (November 2017)
Buying Advice: πŸ˜ƒ Not cheap of course but it has this "something"!

Colour: Deep Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Dirty and Musty are the first impressions that spring to my mind. There's some Sulphur there while I also get notes of Gasoline, Plastic and Cow Manure. An interesting start of procedures! It's quite Light for an 18 Year old actually. Be sure to give it sufficient time in the glass before Nosing. I also find Malted Grain, slightly Burnt Toast, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Toasted Nuts, Hay, Dirt Track, light Peat/Smoke, Heather-Honey, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Oak, Mineral notes, X-mas Cake, Sushi, Orange, Blueberries, Dried Banana Chips, Pineapple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Mint and interesting hints of Tobacco and Leather. The Alcohol is noticeable. I had expected more cask influence to be honest. I must assume that large numbers of Refill casks have been used. But there's this Dirty, Dusty authentic feel to this Single Malt that I like. It's not as fresh and lively as the 10 Years but it's thoroughly interesting.    

Palate: The best part of this Springbank in my opinion. I really like this almost old-fashioned feel. It's Dirty, Dusty, Musty, Bitter-Sweet and slightly Sour with Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Dirt Track, Wax, Salted Nuts, light Peat/Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Raisins, Strawberry Jam, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, light Licorice, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Ashes, Leather and Tobacco. A hint of Sulphur. A bit of Melon after a while.         

Finish: Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Spicy and Herbal. A few Sour notes as well. The Dirty Peat/Smoke is more noticeable by now. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Toasted Oak, Bitter Chocolate, Orange, Blueberries, Dirt Track, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, light Licorice, Dried Herbs, Menthol, Aniseed and hints of Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Tobacco, Leather, Diesel and Ashes. The Alcohol is still there as well.   

Drinking Advice:
I added a few drops of Water and you do get rid of most of the Alcohol. But it's not the same Whisky anymore and Plastic and Rubber notes come to the front. Better sip it neat and hate it or love it!    

Rating: 87 

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Springbank distillery was founded in 1828 in Campbeltown and is owned by the Mitchell family since 1837. In the past, Campbeltown was home to over 30 distilleries but only Springbank and Glen Scotia have survived. The Springbank distillery produces three whiskies. The lightly peated Springbank that is distilled two and a half times, the heavily peated Longrow that is distilled twice and the unpeated Hazelburn that is distilled three times. Springbank is a very traditional  distillery and the whole Whisky making process is done at their premises. That includes malting 100% of the Barley. Because of this, Springbank became a sort of cult distillery with many loyal fans. Prices increased accordingly during the last 10 years. We visited the distillery in May this year and absolutely loved it! It's like going back in time. I can fully recommend a visit!

The 18 Years was first launched in 2008 but a new edition and format was introduced in 2010. Since then, the 18 Years has become an annual limited edition. The 2016 expression I'm tasting today consists of "only" 7200 bottles.

Visit May 2017

🍷  The Spirit 

Springbank operates 1 Wash still and a pair of Spirit stills. Their Lyne arms are slightly pointing downwards and produce a medium-bodied, Sweet, Spicy and Oily spirit. The water is sourced from the Crosshills Loch.

Visit May 2017

🌲  The Wood:

The 18 Years matured in a mix of 80% Ex-Sherry casks and 20% Ex-Bourbon casks. Mostly Refill casks I would say.

Drinking Experience: Good and Interesting.

Conclusion: This is not for everyone! Beginning Whisky drinkers might not fancy Gasoline, Rubber, Plastic and Cow Manure. This is certainly not an easy-going Single Malt. Dirty, Dusty and Musty. But also Authentic, Old-Fashioned and full of Character. It's not at all Balanced and the Alcohol is a bit annoying from time to time. But there's something irresistible to this Springbank 18 Years that tells my brain to have another dram! Unfortunately I only have a relatively small sample. The 10 Years is still my favourite day-to-day Springbank but I will certainly try to get me a bottle of the 18 years to be able to enjoy this bag of Oil, Dirt and Manure from time to time. Good Stuff! 

Jan van den Ende                                                              November 20, 2017

Visit May 2017

J&B 15 Years (1980's) Review

“Old and Wise”

Whisky Review # 659

A Bit of History.

On December 23, 2011, I reviewed the J&B 15 Years that was bottled around 2010. Here are the Tasting Notes I wrote back then: 

Colour: Light Gold

Nose: First impressions are Peat and Malt with some Sherry lurking in the back. After a while we get Tobacco, White Pepper, Black Tea and Old Leather. There are more wafts of young Grain alcohol than I would expect from a 15 Year old Blend. There is evidence of coastal – or Islay distilleries in this blend but I find it hard to describe them. It’s like smelling a salty sea breeze but maybe I’m getting a bit too poetic here. But definitively salty! It’s certainly less sweet than I expected given the presence of the Speyside Malts. There are certainly some interesting aspects to the nose but you need patience to get through the wafts of Alcohol that keep distracting you from time to time. I will deduct half a point for that.

Taste: The delivery is a bit watery. A somewhat remarkable combination of sugary Candy and Peat, spiced up with White Pepper and Cinnamon. It’s hard to detect the malt whiskies here. Not at all elegant. No need to add water as the delivery is already on the thin side.

Finish: Disappointing. Short and dry with salted Nuts and White Pepper. That’s too little for a 15 Year Blend.

Rating: 80,5 

Nose: 21,5 – Taste: 20 – Finish: 19 – Overall: 20

Conclusion: Really disappointing. The nose is interesting although without a clear purpose or vision. The wafts of Alcohol should not be that present after 15 years! Taste-wise there's too much sweet Candy and the finish is not worth mentioning. It’s drinkable of course but in Brazil you pay around US$ 100 for this blend! For about half that price you can get yourselves a great blend like Johnnie Walker Black!

Very recently I received a 5 CL miniature bottle of the 15 Years from my parents in law. They already had it in their possession for quite some time and their educated guess is that they most likely bought it in the early 1980's. Although the miniature was unopened, I observed that around 1/3 of the Whisky/Water combination had evaporated over time. I'm really curious to find out if the Blend is still drinkable and, if so, how it compares to the 15 years that was bottled around 2010. Let's go!

Glen Spey Distillery

Country: Scotland
Brand: J&B Reserve
Type: Blended Whisky
Bottled: 1980's
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: My guess would be mostly American White Oak Casks with probably some Ex-Sherry casks in the mix as well. 
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: Around US$ 125 on the Internet (November 2017)
Buying Advice: 😐 Neutral
It's rather expensive but it gives you the opportunity to detect the differences between older Blends and their more recent versions. 

Colour: Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Light but not unpleasant. My guess would be that mostly refill Bourbon casks were used for maturation. Probably a small part of Ex-Sherry casks went in the mix as well. The Grain Alcohol is there but not in an aggressive way. I find Toasted Cereals, Sweet Barley, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Salted Nuts, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Raisins and Banana, Orange, Lemon, Apple, Vanilla, Marzipan, Fresh Mint, Cinnamon, Refill Wood and hints of Peat, Tobacco, Leather and Ginger. The main difference with the current 40% version is the lack of Aggressive Grain Alcohol. It's also less Peaty, more balanced and with more depth. Better casks most likely.   

Palate: Slightly Thin Delivery. An ABV of 46% would have been perfect for this Blend. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, slightly Bitter Oranges, Lemon, Apple, Salted Nuts, Mixed Fruit, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint and a hint of Peat.  

Finish: Candy Sweet but not in a cloying way. The Grain Alcohol is noticeable now but it just stays within limits. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Sweet Malt, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Salted Nuts, Pepper, Ginger, Orange,  Apple, Menthol, Refill Oak and a faint hint of Peat. Both on the Palate and in the Finish this 1980's version of the J&B 15 Years shows more character and balance than the current expression at 40%. Better casks were used back than or at least so it seems.

Auchroisk Distillery

Drinking Advice:
Due to the small size of the sample, I only tasted this J&B 15 Years neat.

Rating: 83.5  

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

General Remarks:

J&B was originally called Johnson & Justerini and was founded as a wine/spirit broker in 1749 in London. In 1831 the company was bought by Alfred Brooks and was renamed Justerini & Brooks. Currently it's the second best selling Blend in the world, only behind Johnnie Walker. The original 15 Years was launched in the 1980's and bottled at 43%. It has been discontinued in the meantime and has been replaced by the current 40% expression. The 15 years is made of over 40 Grain and Malt Whiskies. A good portion of the Malt hails from Knockando, Auchroisk and Glen Spey.  

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The J&B 15 Years bottled in the early 1980's is a gentle and light Blend with a Speyside character and a faint touch of Islay. It's not aggressive at any point and Grain Alcohol, Refill Wood and Sugar do not pass the limit. When compared to its today's brother it presents more character and balance thanks to a better Wood Management. The Islay content is certainly lower in the older version resulting in a better balance.  It is still a little Thin though and it would certainly benefit if bottled at 46%. As a whole though the "old" version easily beats its younger brother on all accounts. 

Jan van den Ende                                                             November 15, 2017

Knockando Distillery

Tomintoul 33 Years Review

“Shy Guy”

Whisky Review # 658

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tomintoul (Special Reserve)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 33 Years 
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Most likely a mix of Bourbon and Sherry Casks     
Chill Filtration: Yes   
Price Range: US$ 180-220 (November 2017). Higher prices in some places. 
Buying Advice: 😏 Not really bad but too expensive for what it offers. 

Colour: Golden with hints of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Quite Light for a Whisky of this age. Clear Bourbon cask influences but there is some Sherry in the mix as well. Mostly refill casks I would think based on Colour and Aroma. On the Nose I detect Sweet, Sour, Green and Yeasty elements. I find Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Heather Honey, Grass, Straw, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Apricot, Sultanas and Figs, slightly Sour Apples and White Grapes, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Gooseberries, Nuts, Wood Shavings, Cinnamon, Ginger, Aniseed, light Menthol and traces of Dairy, Cooked Vegetables and/or Potatoes and Bourbon. The Alcohol is reasonably well integrated. There is enough to discover if you take the time but somehow the add-up of all the components is not quite convincing. "Shy Boy" by Diana King is a song that comes to my mind.   

Palate: By nature the Tomintoul 33 is rather Soft on the Palate but the Alcohol and the Wood provide some Sharp, Edgy elements as well. I find Malted Barley, Sugared Cereals, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Nuts and Dried Fruit, Banana, Mandarin, Orange, Grapefruit, Oak, Stone Fruit, Straw, Grass, Vanilla, Resin, Sugared Tea, Cinnamon, Mint, Pepper, Aniseed and traces of Espresso and Bitter Chocolate. On the Palate this Tomintoul is mostly Bitter-Sweet with some Sour, Herbal and Spicy notes.      

Finish: Middle-Long and mostly Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour, Herbal and Spicy notes. A little Sharp and Tannic. I find Malted Barley, Sugared Cereals, Treacle, Hazelnut/Milk Chocolate, Vanilla, Toffee, Heather Honey, Nuts and Nutshells, Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon, Hay, Alcohol and a hint of Espresso or Strong Tea.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Nose becomes more Floral but also really Thin. I get some notes of Fresh Peach as well. The Palate becomes Floral as well and almost reminds me of a Perfume. You do get rid of the harshness by adding a few drops of Water. This is not an easy call. Just experiment and add a drop or two at a time. 

Rating: 84.5    

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

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

The Tomintoul distillery was founded in 1965 and was bought in 2000 by the current owners Angus Dundee Distillers who also acquired Glencadam in 2003. It is located in Ballindaloch (Banffshire), one of the highest distillery locations in Scotland. The core range currently consists a/o of the NAS Tlath, the 10, 14, 16, 21 and 25 years old as well as some peated Malts like the Old Ballantruan and the Peaty Tang. The Tomintoul Malt is used in blends like Dundee and Parker's.

The 33 Years was launched in August 2009 to replace the 27 Years that had been released in 2004. Recently, the 33 years has been discontinued as well.

Picture Credit:
🍷  The Spirit:

The Distillery operates two pairs of Stills with Lyne arms that point slightly upwards. They produce a light, Fruity and Floral Spirit. The Water is sourced from the Ballantruan Spring.

Picture Credit:

🌲  The Wood:

Unfortunately I do not have any exact information with respect to the casks that contained the 33 Year old Tomintoul during maturation. Based on the Aroma -  and Flavour profile I would assume that we are looking at a combination of refill Ex- Bourbon and Ex-Sherry casks. 

Drinking Experience: Okay/Good. I expected more of a 33 Year old Malt.


I have tasted quite a few Tomintouls in the meantime and it's fair to say it does not rank among my favourite distilleries. The 33 Years is no exception to the rule although it's not a bad Single Malt. But I can almost feel the tiredness of the Refill casks after 33 long Years. A little added Water helps to clear the air but almost transfers the Whisky in a Floral Perfume. I'm not sure that's what Master-Distiller Robert Fleming had in mind when creating this Single Malt. If you have the spare cash and like the Aroma/Flavour profile by all means give the 33 Years a chance. Although personally I would strongly advise you to try a miniature first before deciding on buying a full bottle. Because prices are quite high, even more so of course after the decision to discontinue the 33 Years.   

Jan van den Ende                                                                November 8, 2017

Picture Credit: Peter Moore

Booker's the Barrel Review

“Great Balls of Fire”

Whisky Review # 657

Country: USA
Brand: Booker's Bourbon Batch # 2015-02 The Barrel (True Barrel Series)
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Age: 6-8 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 63.7%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak Barrels 
Filtration: No  
Price Range: Around US$ 75 (October 2017)
Buying Advice: 😈 Hotter than Hell! I dare you to try it! Good Stuff! 

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

Nose: Sweet and Pleasant despite the high ABV. At first I get the familiar combination of Glue, Acetone, Vanilla, Orange, Caramel and Banana. It might not be everybody's cup of Tea but I find it rather addictive. A sort of Guilty Pleasure if you know what I mean! After a while In also find Fresh Peach, Corn Syrup, Milky Way Bar, Dusty Road, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, a mix of Dried Fruits and Nuts, Floral tones, Menthol, Charred Oak and hints of Leather, Aniseed and Tobacco. From time to time I pick up some Dark Red Fruit Aromas as well but it's hard to pinpoint them.      

Palate: Wow! This is not for the Faint of Heart! Extremely strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. I'm usually not a fan of adding Water but in this case it's almost mandatory. My eyes started crying a bit. Not from sadness though as I quite like the Palate of this Booker's. It roughly follows the Nose with Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Banana, Cherry, Acetone, Glue, Orange, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Menthol, Aniseed, Herbs, Salted Peanuts and hints of Leather, Resin and Tobacco.

Finish: Middle-Long but quite Powerful. The Alcohol is really strong. Quite Tannic as well. Mainly Sweet but with a few Bitter - and Sour notes as well. I find Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Acetone, Glue, Milky Way Bars, Sweet Corn, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Aniseed, Licorice, Menthol, Orange and Grapefruit Juice. Hints of Leather, Dried Herbs and Tobacco. Dry in the end. 

Drinking Advice:
I advise you to add a little Water in this case. You won't change the general Aroma and Flavour profile and it makes it easier to enjoy this Booker's.

Rating: 86 

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

General Remarks:

Booker's Bourbon is part of Jim Beam's Small Batch collection and is named after Booker Noe, the former Master Distiller. It was first released to the general public in 1992. Each barrel selected for Booker's is aged in the centre of the rack houses where temperature and humidity are ideal. Booker's is Unfiltered and bottled at Cask Strength.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: This is what good Bourbon is all about. When you take a small sip you can easily imagine those old black and white Cowboy movies where the hero would enter a saloon and demand a shot! When I'm perfectly honest I would have preferred a slightly lower ABV of around 55% as the heat nearly gets out of control at almost 64%. I normally drink my Whisky or Bourbon neat but in this case I advise you to add a little Water. Other than that I really liked this Booker's. If you're not into Bourbon at all this is certainly not the way to start your voyage. But if you are a seasoned Glue and Acetone addict you will love this Booker's. It's Hot, it's Strong, it kicks like a wild mule and it gives no quarter. It's not at all complex but it's well-made and there's an authentic feel to it that I love. It's not cheap but it's well worth the ride. Rollin', Rollin', Rollin', Rawhide! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 24, 2017

Lord Elcho 15 Years Review

“Thin Nobility”

Whisky Review # 656

Country: Scotland
Brand: Lord Elcho
Type: Blended Whisky
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: A mix of Refill Bourbon- and Ex-Sherry casks.
Chill Filtration: Yes  
Price Range: US$ 60-80 (October 2017)
Buying Advice: 😐Neutral. Not bad but a little Thin and quite expensive!

Colour: Golden Amber with a shade of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Light and almost understated for a 15 Year old. The Grain Alcohol is there but not in an aggressive way. Bourbon and Sherry cask influence is noticeable. I find Toasted Cereals, slightly Burnt Toast, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Coconut Milk, Apple-Pie with Cream and Vanilla Sauce, Caffe Latte, Citrus Peel, Salted Peanut, Heather-Honey, Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice, Ginger, Floral Perfume, Pineapple and very faint hints of Licorice and Factory Smoke. The Nose is Light but not bad although the Grain Alcohol and the Refill Wood spoil the party ever so slightly.

Palate: Light. Slightly Thin and almost Watery delivery. I find some Toasted Cereals, Toffee, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Treacle, Apple-Pastry, Banana, Straw, Dried Fruit like Sultanas and Raisins, Sugared Almonds, Sugared Tea, Heather-Honey, Dried Herbs, Citrus Peel, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, light Aniseed, light Pineapple, Milk Chocolate, Refill Wood and Cocoa Powder.  

Finish: On the short side. Bitter-Sweet, a bit Thin, quite Spicy and a little Hot. Quite Dry and Peppery in the end. I find Toasted Cereals, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Heather-Honey, Mandarin Juice, Lemon Peel, Cinnamon, light Aniseed, Pepper, Straw, Refill Wood and Vanilla-Flavoured Pipe Tobacco.     

Drinking Advice:
Due to the small size of the sample, I only tasted this Lord Elcho neat.

Rating: 80.5 

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

General Remarks:

Lord Elcho 15 Years Blended Scotch Whisky was released in 2012 by Wemyss Malts, the Fife-based blender/bottler, founded in 2005 by William Wemyss. This family has traditional ties to the Whisky industry. Lord Elcho was the eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss. He was born in 1721 and sided with Bonnie Prince Charlie during the Jacobite uprising. After the defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Lord Elcho was stripped of lands and title and exiled to France. The Wemyss family recently constructed the Kingsbarns Lowland distillery. Wemyss released a NAS version of the Lord Elcho Blend in 2014. The 15 Years consists of Grain Whiskies (60%) and Malt Whiskies (40%). The exact recipe is not known but it might change from year to year to guarantee consistency.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay. Palate and Finish on the Thin side.

Conclusion: The Lord Elcho 15 Years is not a bad blend and the Nose gives us sparkles of understated quality. But Palate and Finish are quite Thin and the majority of Aromas and Flavours are mere impressions. I would have expected more depth and volume of 15 Year Old Whiskies. As usual, the low ABV, Chill-Filtration and loads of indifferent casks are the probable villains. Despite its flaws, Lord Elcho 15 Years is still better than most average Blends. It is of course also much more expensive. It's up to you to decide whether you want to spend an average 70 US Dollars on this nice looking Bottle and packaging. Personally, I don't!   

Jan van den Ende                                                                 October 20, 2017