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

Union Virgin Oak Finish


”State of the Union” 


Whisky Review # 944

Country: Brazil
Region: State of Rio Grande do Sul
Brand: Union Virgin Oak Finish
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Distilled in the "old" Veranopolis Distillery
Age: NAS (Presumably 7 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks (5 Years) with Virgin Oak Finish (2 Years)
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: US$ 50 (April 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ About right. The lowest price I saw was US$ 46
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ If you want to experiment good Brazilian Whisky, start here!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

I'm welcomed by the Sweet smell of Vanilla and Fresh Buttered Pastry along with a hint of Varnish from the New Oak. It's quite Young and a little Thin but certainly not unpleasant. One of the better (if not the best) Brazilian Malt I've nosed so far.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Good Quality Normandy Butter, Vanilla, Fresh Puff Pastry filled with Peaches or Apricots, Honey, Raisins, Charred Oak and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Golden Syrup, Nougat, Straw, Fresh Bread, Toasted Pineapple, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Track, Varnish, Almonds, Biscuits, Pepper and Ginger.


Palate:

Young, a little Thin, slightly Hot and Bitter-Sweet. Clean without Off-Notes.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Butter Biscuits, Peanut-Milk Chocolate, Peach, Plum, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper and Nutmeg.    

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Golden Syrup, Nougat, Straw, Raisins, Vanilla-Flavored Coffee, Mint and Ginger. A touch of Lemon and Dusty Track.  

Finish:

Middle-Long and mostly Sweet with an increasing Bitterness towards the end that does not seem totally out of place though. It's Young, a little Thin and slightly Hot. Quite Dry towards the end as well. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Charred Oak, Honey, Butter Biscuits, Straw, Nougat, Peanut-Milk Chocolate, Raisins, Cinnamon, Pepper, Vanilla-Flavored Coffee and hints of Mint and Lemon.  

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample I only tasted this Union neat.

Rating: 82.5 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Union Distillery was founded in 1948 and started with the production of Wines and Spirits. In 1972 it was bought by the Borsato and Ziero families who changed the focus of the company to the production of Malt Whisky blessed by an abundance of crystal clear Water in the region. To obtain various Aromas and Flavors, a mix of differently Charred Casks were used (Levels 1,3 and 4). The Spirit for this Virgin Oak Finish was still produced in the old Veranopolis Distillery but in 2015 this was replaced by a new production facility in Bento Goncalves.   

I'm impressed by the quality of this Brazilian product. Style-wise it's somewhere between Bourbon and Scotch. It's still a bit Young but it's already good enough as a sipping Whisky. It would be great to try a fully matured Union in the future. Yes, it's a bit Young and Hot and a Thin but Aroma- and Flavor-wise this distillery is going in the right direction and I wish them lots of success. 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           April 26, 2022

Wardhead 1997 (Carn Mor)


”Songs from the Wood” 


Whisky Review # 943

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Wardhead 1997 (Carn Mor - Celebration of the Cask Series)
Distilled on: 20-02-1997
Bottled By/For: Morrison & MacKay (MMcK) on 01/08/2018
Type: Single Cask Blended Malt Scotch Whisky - Cask # 43 - 354 Bottles
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.6% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 140-160 (April 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay. A 21 Year old Single Malt is never cheap these days!
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜” Not bad at all but probably only for Woody Woodpeckers!

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A Mix of Sweet and slightly Sour notes. Quite Malty and Yeasty. The Oak is quite noticeable and so is the Alcohol. There's still sufficient Glenfiddich Fruit to be noted but this Spirit could have done with fewer years in the casks. Anywhere between 15 and 18 years would have been just fine. The Nose is not unpleasant but nothing out of the ordinary as well.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, German Butter Biscuits, Honey, Yeast, Green Apple, Pear, Mix of Nuts and Dried Fruit like Apricot, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Slightly Dusty Casks, Cinnamon and Mint.    
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Wax, Resin, Powder Sugar, Grass/Straw, Mandarin, Banana, Lemon, Strawberry Yogurt, Melon, Pineapple, Nougat, Floral Soap, Tobacco, Green Leaves,  Wet Rocks, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Ginger and Pepper.


Palate:

The Sweet and Sour notes of the Nose are still there but they are threatened by the Bitterness of Cask and Wood Spices. I miss balance here. Either Mr. Morrison or Mr. MacKay should have bottled it a few years earlier in my opinion ๐Ÿ˜‰. The Alcohol is noticeable as well. Somehow I got images of an Apple Pie that was kept in a brand new wooden box for a couple of weeks!

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Syrup, Honey, Wax, Resin, Yeast, Dough, Pear, Green Apple, Mandarin, Banana, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Bounty Bars, Capuccino, Earth, Dusty Charred Oak, Coconut, Pepper, Ginger and Mint. 
         
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Melon, Lemon, Strawberry, Leather, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Aniseed, Licorice and Cinnamon.
 
Finish:

Quite Long with lots of Bitter Oak and Menthol. Quite Dry towards the end. Oak and Wood Spices are really controlling the Sweet Malt and Sour Fruit at this point. This really should have been bottled earlier. Still, it's better than most of today's boring Malts. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, Toffee, Honey, Wax, Simple Syrup, Grass/Straw, Green Apple, Pear, Banana, Green Grapes, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin, Toasted Almonds, Charred Oak, Wax, Cacao Powder, Herbal Tea, Floral Soap, lightly Burnt Marshmallow, Green Leaves, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Mint and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

You can certainly add a spoonful of Water to this Wardhead thereby diminishing the Bitterness somewhat and increasing the Fruitiness. It obviously loses some of the original raw character as well. I liked it both ways actually.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. Would be better with less cask time.

Conclusion:

William Grant & Sons are the owners of the Speyside distilleries Glenfiddich and The Balvenie. When they sell Casks with Glenfiddich Spirit to Independent Bottlers like Morrison & MacKay, they add a teaspoon of The Balvenie and label it as Wardhead. This way, the independent bottlers can't sell it as Glenfiddich and also not as Single Malt as the minimum amount of The Balvenie classifies the mix as a Blended Malt.

I fully enjoyed this Tasting session. Let me explain. On the one hand this Malt has certainly overstayed its time in the cask causing a Bitterness that will not please most Whisky lovers as it compromises the Fruitiness of the Glenfiddich Spirit. But on the other hand it shows Character, something I so dearly miss in todays Mainstream Malt Madness. If you like the standard Glenfiddich expressions you should not go for this one but if you're looking for some Raw Woody Adventure you should give this Wardhead a chance!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           April 20, 2022

Auchnagie (Lost Distillery Company)


”You’re Lost Little Girl”


Whisky Review # 942

Country: Scotland
Region: Southern Highlands
Brand: Auchnagie - Classic Selection - Styled on Long Closed Distilleries
Distilled by: The Lost Distillery Company, Kilmarnock
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS (Said to be on average 10-12 Years old)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (April 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ At US$ 45 it's okay. I wouldn't pay more though.
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜• It's an interesting experiment but this one doesn't convince me.

Colour: Light Gold (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Relatively Young and slightly Edgy. The Alcohol is noticeable and so is a persistent Varnish note. Otherwise it's okay presenting a mixture of Sweet and slightly Sour notes. It's Fruity but also rather Yeasty and Biscuity.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Heather Honey, Yeast, Green Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Citrus Peel, slightly Sour Red Berries, Grapefruit Juice, Floral Soap, Varnish, Cinnamon and Oak Char.    
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, White Wine, Straw, Honeydew Melon, Nuts, Wet Newspaper, Pepper, Ginger, Mint, Dried Herbs and Aniseed.


Palate:

Young, slightly Edgy and a little Thin with Sweet and Sour notes. Fruity and Herbal.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malt, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Citrus Peel, Grapefuit Juice, Green Apple, Pear, Banana, Oak Char, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Aniseed and Licorice.         
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Sugary Candy, Caramel, Floral Perfume, Straw, Nectarine, White Wine, Dusty Track, Earth, Nuts, Cloves and Nutmeg.
     
Finish:

Middle-Long and slightly on the Hot side. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Sweet Barley, Toasted Grain, Toast, Vanilla, Toffee, Heather-Honey, Green Apple, Pear, Grapefruit, Strawberry, Orange, Lemon, Banana, Grass & Straw, Dusty Track, Oak Char, Nuts, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Menthol and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

By adding a few drops of Water, you eliminate most of the Harshness. It also gets very Light and Thin this way. But the Fruit becomes more vivid. You can add a little Water but don't overdo it as you will kill it quickly.

Rating: 80

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

The Auchnagie farm Distillery (later named Tullymey) was founded in the year 1812 by Mr. James Duff and was located 6 miles South-East of Pitlochry in the Southern Highlands. The water for the destillation came from Loch Broom. It was quite mineral having been filtered through Peat Moss and Granite. Some of their main production problems included inconsistent supply of Water and inconsistent size of the Bere Barley used. It was later sold to John Dewar and Son who closed it in 1911 and dismantled it a year later.

First of all I like the purpose of this Series. It's nice to try and recreate Single Malts from long closed distilleries based on the information still available on the Water Supply, Barley, Yeast and the distilling process. It's not easy to do that I suppose. The Auchnagie is the first in a series of six that I bought as a Sample Gift package. All with Natural Color indeed and without Chill-Filtration as it was done in the days. So far so good. My issue with this expression is that, as far as I can judge at least, mostly 2nd and 3rd Refill Ex-Bourbon casks were used for maturation. With a few quality casks this expression could have been much better. After having nosed and tasted the Auchnagie, I went thru my Highlands tasting notes and this is the Single Malt that came closest to this reborn Auchnagie. Curious? Click on the link and have a look!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           April 13, 2022


Important Market Information!

The 4th international World Whisky Forum will be held in June this year at Stauning Distillery in Denmark. This year´s overall theme is Sustainability and the moderator, as in previous years, is Dave Broom.

The organization is selling circa 70 tickets for those who want to attend in person and enjoy presentations, panel discussions, tours, dinners and mingle with people who all share a passion for whisky.

For the first time, however, you can also choose to take part virtually and watch the presentations from some of the industry´s most respected voices from your own computer or phone.

Tickets are on sale now at:  

www.worldwhiskyforum.org/tickets

If you have any questions, please contact Jan Groth at:

jan.groth@worldwhiskyforum.org

Jura 21 Years


”Theme From The Deer Island”


Whisky Review # 941

Country: Scotland
Region: Islands - Jura
Brand: Jura
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 44%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 120-150  (April 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay for a 21 Year old Single Malt
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜Œ Finally a Jura I can recommend. A must if you like Jura!

Colour:

Dark Amber with notes of Orange and Brown (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

One of the things I often find when nosing Jura whisky are Cooked Vegetables and/ or Potatoes. They are here as well but rather as an afterthought. The Nose of the 21 years is not too bad although uneventful. The Sherry casks provide Dried Fruits and Nougat and some slightly Dirty, Earthy notes as well. The Nose is mostly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, slightly Sour Red Berries, Chocolate Milk, Nougat, Citrus Peel, Dusty Casks, Starch, Espresso, Salt and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Dough, Puff Pastry filled with sugary chopped Dates, Dried Herbs, Red Apple, Nuts, Leather, Tobacco, Forest Floor, Wet Rocks, Oak Char, Mint, Cinnamon, Cloves and Licorice. Very distant hints of Cooked Vegetables & Varnish.
   

Palate:

Agreeable and predictable on the Palate. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. It's a little Thin. An ABV of 46-48% would have been more adequate. But it's certainly one of the better Jura's I've tasted so far. The Palate basically follows the Nose with Dried Fruit, Dark Chocolate, Spices and slightly Bitter Oak in the lead.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Dates and Apricots, Sour Berries like Raspberry and Gooseberry, Orange Peel, Dark Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Dusty Oak, Nougat, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Wax, Dough, Grass and Straw, Tobacco, Leather, Dirt Track, Wet Rocks and Sand, Floral Soap, Cloves, Aniseed, Mint, Cardamom & Peanuts.


Finish:

Middle-Long. A mixture of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Quite Dry towards the end. The Bitter cask notes are a bit too present for my liking. I find Toasted Barley, Salty Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Bitter Oak, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums & Apricots, Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Nougat, Honey, Nuts, Sour Apples, Grapefruit, Dusty Oak Casks, Dirty Track, Dried Herbs, Wet Rocks and Sand, Leather, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Mint and strong Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Jura.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Jura means Deer Island. The Distillery is located in the small village of Craighouse the island's "capital". Craighouse lies on the A 846, some eight miles from the Ferry Terminal to Islay. It was founded in 1810 and since 1993 it belongs to Whyte & Mackay Ltd. Jura is mostly known as a Single Malt but it's also a very important part of the Whyte & Mackay Special Blend. The Distillery possesses 1 Stainless Steel Semi Lauter Mash Tun, six stainless steel Wash Backs and two Pairs of Stills. In 2021 their total production amounted to around 2,4 million litres. The following Single Malts are part of the new core range introduced during 2018: Journey, Seven Wood, 10, 12, 18 and 21 Years (Tide).

Jura is not one of my favorite distilleries but this 21 Year old is certainly better than most expressions I had so far. It has no real off-notes although the Bitterness on the finish is a bit of a letdown. But other than that it's enjoyable though predictable. I wouldn't buy a full bottle but if you're a fan of this distillery you should certainly try the 21 Years if you can find it. When in doubt, buy a sample first! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            April 6, 2022

Pictures taken during our visit in May 2014

Beverbach Double Oak Aged


”Oh Very Young”


Whisky Review # 940

Country: Germany
Region: Hardenberg, Lower Saxony
Brand: Beverbach Double Oak Aged
Type: Single Malt Whiskey
Age: NAS (3-4 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of First-Fill Ex-Bourbon and French Oak Brandy Casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Average: US$ 55-65 (March 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž  Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too Young. Too Harsh. Whisky needs Maturation in good casks!

Colour: Pale Straw/Chardonnay (Natural Color)

Nose:

The Nose is welcomed by strong notes of Varnish & New French Oak. This is a quite Young and Harsh Spirit that is much closer to Gin, Genever, New Make and Slivovitz than to Whisky. There's not a lot happening and you have to dig very deep in your memory to find a few Medium-Sweet reference notes.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grain, Buttered Toast, Dairy, Grass and Straw, Varnish, Glue, Licorice, New Oak and Red Berries.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Cheap Honey, Brown Sugar, Oak Char, Cinnamon, Pepper, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate and Cooked Vegetables.


Palate:

Sweet, Young and Harsh. I really would like to taste a fully matured Beverbach one day. As it is, I can't find anything of interest here.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grain, Sugar, Slightly Burnt Toast, Red Berries, Green Apple, Dairy, Nuts, Charred Oak, Pepper and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Burnt Caramel, Cheap Honey, Straw, Pear, Plums, Cardamom and Cloves.


Finish:

Sweet, very Short and slightly Hot. I find Toasted Grains, Sugar, Vanilla, Red Berries like Strawberry and Raspberry, Green Apple, Charred Oak, Lemon, Pepper, Licorice, Cloves, Cardamom and small hints of Varnish, Metal, Dairy, Straw and Nougat. Dry towards the end.

Drinking Advice:

You can add a few drops of Water to diminish the Harshness a little bit.

Rating: 69.5

Nose: 17.5 - Taste: 17.5 - Finish: 17 - Overall: 17.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average

Drinking Experience On the Rocks : Borderline Acceptable

Conclusion:

The Hardenberg distillery was founded in 1700. It started with Korn (Grain Spirit) but along the many years Vodka, Gin and, more recently, Whiskey were added to the portfolio.The latter product is made with regional Barley and Wheat and is called Single Malt Whiskey and not Whisky. Probably to avoid trouble with Scotch Single Malt Whisky, a combination that is protected by law.

Nowadays you can find some good Whisky in Germany. Just over a week ago I had two new expressions made by the Rudenau based St. Kilian distillery. One Speyside type and a Peated expression. Both were highly enjoyable. It's probably not a big coincidence that St. Kilian is only producing Whisky. For most German distilleries Whisky/Whiskey is only one of their products that was often only added to their portfolio in the last 10/20 years or so. Their main product is Young Obstbrand and/or Korn and you can taste that in their Whiskies. They are usually bottled at a very young age and often taste like New Make Spirit that matured for a couple of years in mostly new European Oak. The Beverbach Double Oak is no exception I'm afraid. Consequently I find little enjoyment in tasting this Spirit. Good whisky needs time and unfortunately this Beverbach wasn't allowed to mature sufficiently.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        March 30, 2022

AnCnoc 24 Years


”AnCnoc On Wood”


Whisky Review # 939

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands
Brand: AnCnoc
Distilled at: Knockdhu
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 24 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherry-Seasoned European Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 140-180 (March 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ Okay given its age.  
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ A bit predictable. Nice alternative if you like Glengoyne.   

Colour: Dark Amber with hints of Brown and Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Sherry notes are clear but certainly not overwhelming. There's a hint of Varnish but it disappears quickly. The Nose is a pleasant and Fruity mix of Sweet and Sour notes. There's Oak of course but you wouldn't give it 24 Years in a blind tasting. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Figs, Dates, Sultanas, Plums and Apricots, Nuts, Orange, Sweet Apples, Dusty Casks, Polished Leather Upholstery, Tobacco, Mixed Chocolate, Peaches in Heavy Syrup, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mint and Aniseed.      
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Caramel, Wax, Glue, Honey, Lemon, Pear, Gooseberry, Dusty Track, Dried Herbs, Grass and Straw, Floral Perfume, Old Cedar Wood, Dusty Old Books, Toasted Pineapple, Cloves and Cardamom.     



Palate:

A mix of Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. Wood and Alcohol are more noticeable now. Quite Dry. This AnCnoc is well-made but predictable and misses the Wow factor. It's a little on the Thin side considering its age. The Palate is also driven by the Dried Fruit notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Raisins, Figs, Dates, Apricots and Plums), Orange, Sweet Apple, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Polished Leather, Dusty Charred Casks, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Menthol, Aniseed and Licorice.            

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Sour Cherries, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pear, Straw, Floral Perfume, Herbal Tea, Forest Floor, Cloves, Nutmeg and Espresso.
     

Finish
:


Middle-Long. A mix of Sweet, Sour & Bitter notes. The Oak is more noticeable here and so is the Alcohol. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Toasted and Malted Barley, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Butter, Dried Fruit such as Plums, Dates, Raisins and Sultanas, Orange, Sweet Apple, Pear, Lemon, Gooseberry, Grapefruit, Mixed Nuts, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Dusty Earth, Herbal Tea, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Straw, Salty Peanut Butter, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Aniseed and Menthol.  

Drinking Advice:

Added Water enhances the Fruit on the Nose but it also takes out the edge of the Palate and slightly spoils the Finish. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it. I prefer to enjoy it neat.

Rating: 87 

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Knockdhu distillery was founded in 1893 by DCL in the little village of Knock very close to Huntly (Aberdeenshire). It was mothballed in 1983 but reopened in 1989. Until 1993 the whisky was called Knockdhu but the owners decided to rename it to AnCnoc avoiding a possible confusion with the whisky produced at Knockando, a Diageo distillery in Speyside. The new owners are Inver House Distillers, part of Thai Beverages PLC. The beautiful distillery currently produces 1.8 million litres of Alcohol per year. The core range includes the 12, 18 & 24 years and the Peatheart.

The 24 Years was introduced in 2015. It's slightly better and more mature than the 18 Years but the latter one has a better Price/Quality ratio. Both are sherried Highlanders without being Sherry-bombs. Both are well-made & present a pleasant nose. On the Palate they are quite predictable with Dried Fruit, Wood and Wood Spices. I would always accept a dram of either one of them but would hesitate to buy a full bottle despite the acceptable price level. But if you like Glengoyne and the likes you should certainly give AnCnoc the benefit of the doubt.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        March 23, 2022

Balblair 18 Years



”It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”


Whisky Review # 938

Country: Scotland
Region: Northern Highlands
Brand: Balblair
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks with Finish in 1st Fill Spanish Oak Sherried Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Average: US$ 140 (December 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ŽToo expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Neutral. It's an acceptable Malt but quite Mainstream. 

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

This is actually quite similar to the 15 Years I tasted earlier this year in May. The light Varnish note is there again suggesting that some Fresh or Refreshed Wood was used during maturation. The Nose is okay but quite uneventful with some Cereals, Caramel, Dried Fruit and Spices. A clear Buttery note can be found as well as some Sherry accents although the Sherry cask influence is certainly not overwhelming. The Alcohol is not completely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruit such as Raisins, Sultanas, Plums and Prunes, Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Grass & Hay, Citrus Peel, Cocoa Powder, Charred Oak, Fresh Cut Wood, Nutmeg and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Red Berries, Sweet Apple, Nectarine, Peach, Nougat, Dusty Track, Herbs like Parsley and Mint, Caffe Latte, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Tobacco, Varnish, Licorice and Leather.
 

Palate:

The delivery is slightly Thin despite the adequate ABV. The mouthfeel is Creamy & Medium-Dry. It's mainly Sweet but a few Bitter and Sour notes provide the needed balance. It's not bad but quite mainstream and slightly boring.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, Plums & Prunes, Citrus Fruit (Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon), Charred Oak, Herbs like Parsley and Mint, Charred Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Tobacco.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

German Butter Biscuits, Honey, Nougat, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Nectarine, Red Apple, Dusty Track, Fresh Wood, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Cocoa and Leather.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Medium-Dry. It's mainly Sweet but a few Bitter and Sour notes are to be found as well. The three extra years in the cask have created a slightly more rounded feeling. I find Malted & Toasted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, German Butter Biscuits, Charred Oak, Fresh Wood, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Prunes, Apricots and Plums, Nougat, Red Berries, Sour Cherries, Red Apple, Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit), Nectarine, Cocoa Powder, Dusty Track, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Menthol and hints of Espresso, Peanut Butter and Leather.


Drinking Advice:

I prefer it neat but you can carefully add a few drops of Water. Don't overdo it as Wood and Wood Spice will take control.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Balblair is located in Edderton (Tain) and is one of the oldest Scottish distilleries. It was founded in 1790. Since 2006 it is owned by International Beverage Holdings. In 2007 the entire range was relaunched on the basis of Vintages instead of Age Statements. Glenrothes did this as well. But this changed again in 2019 and a new Age-Statement core range was launched with the 12, 15, 18 and 25 Years. The Spirit is also used in Blends like Hankey Bannister and Inver House. The visitor centre was only opened in 2012. We visited this great looking distillery in May 2017 and did a very nice tour. Extra attention is paid to the fact the distillery was part of the set for the movie "The Angels Share" released in 2012. The distillery produces around 1.5 million litres of Spirit per year.

The Balblair 18 Years is not a bad Single Malt and it's a slight improvement over the 15 Years. It's certainly accessible and it will please many a Palate. For me personally it's too mainstream though and I can't get excited about it. I simply miss the "Wow" factor and at this price level I need that. It was exactly at this moment that I heard Whitney Houston on my stereo and her song sums it up quite nicely. "It's Not Right But It's Okay"

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     December 1, 2021

All Pictures taken during our visit in May 2017