Showing posts with label Vintage Malt Whisky Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vintage Malt Whisky Company. Show all posts

Finlaggan The Original Peaty Review

“In the Court of the Lord of the Isles”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Finlaggan The Original Peaty
Bottled By/For: The Vintage Malt Whisky Company Limited, Glasgow
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 40%
Sample provided by Jan from the Netherlands. Many thanks!

Colour: Light Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: The Sweet Peat is all over the place. This is a perfect example of a young and rough Islay Malt. I find Cold Smoke, Ashes, Wet Mud, Medicine, Band-Aid, Plastic, Rubber, Burning Newspaper, Wet Tarmac, Salt Water, Sweet Cereals, Burnt Toast, Alcohol, Smoked Fish & Pork, Banana, Pineapple, Apple Vinegar, BBQ Sauce, light Honey, Lemon, Caramel, light Menthol, light Aniseed and light Licorice. On the Nose, the Original Peaty is quite similar to the Finlaggan Secret of Islay that I reviewed earlier.

Palate: On the Palate, the Original Peaty is Bitter-Sweet but a bit Thin and Watery with Sweet Barley, Sugar, Cold Smoke, Wet Grass, Ashes, Plastic, Rubber, Salt Water, Charred Oak, Lemon, Banana, light Vanilla, Apple Vinegar, Bacon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Metallic- and Mineral notes.

Finish: Middle-Long and Sugary Sweet with a light Bitterness towards the end. I find Wet Mud, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Medicine, Plastic, Sweet Barley, light Vanilla, Burnt Toast, light Menthol, Salt, Licorice, Lemon-Pepper and hints of Charred Oak and Milk Chocolate.

This Finlaggan does not improve with added Water.

Rating: 81 

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

General Remarks: The Original Peaty Single Malt is distilled by one of the Distilleries on Islay. Which one is a real secret, only known to a few. This Whisky is named after the ruins of the Finlaggan Castle. It was constructed in the 13th Century and served as the home of The Lord of the Isles and the Clan MacDonald. It is located on a little Island called Eileen Mor in Loch Finlaggan. Finlaggan means Fort of the Island. It was demolished in the 15th or 16th Century. There are other expressions in the Finlaggan series being the Secret of Islay, the 10 Years Lightly Peated and the Cask Strength at 58%. The Original Peaty sells at an average 30 US Dollars, but it can go as low as 20 US Dollars depending on where you live. This Malt was Chill-Filtered before bottling.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good  

Conclusion: A typical Young and Edgy Islay Malt. At this age (5-7 Years) most peated Islay Malts tend to present similar Aromas and Flavours. That's why it's very difficult to guess where this Finlaggan was distilled. Most likely it's either at Lagavulin, Caol Ila or Laphroaig but I guess it will remain a secret for a long time. In general I found this Original Peaty very similar to the Finlaggan Secret of Islay and the Ileach Peated. All are dominated by Coastal Peaty Aromas and Flavours. Both Finlaggans present an artificial Sweetness and a clear Plastic note that slightly turn me off. If you are not into Peat you should leave this type of Whisky alone. But for Peat Lovers, these Malts are interesting and quite cheap alternatives for the regular standard Islay Single Malts. The price difference is such that you might want to forgive the Finlaggans for their flaws. So while the two Finlaggans and the Ileach certainly would not qualify as Lords of the Isles, they probably would be allowed as advisers to the court!

Jan van den Ende                                                             December 28, 2015

The ruins of Finlaggan Castle

I would like to wish all readers of Best Shot Whisky Reviews and their Families a Happy and Healthy 2016. May the Dram be with us!

Glenalmond Everyday Review

“Everyday? No Way!”
Country: Scotland 
Region: Highland
Brand: Glenalmond
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS 
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Amber

Nose: I can't say this turns me on! Can a Whisky smell tired? If yes, then this Glenalmond does! It's also Young and Sugary Sweet. I find Toffee, Dried Fruits, Straw, Nut Shells, Toast, Margarine, Peanut Butter, Malt, light Vanilla,Refill Oak, Gingerbread, Pencil Shavings and distant hints of Sherry and Smoke. It smells similar to bulk Speyside Spirit that would normally go into  "cheap" Blended Scotch. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Palate: Thin and Watery delivery with a light Alcohol Bite. I find Grains, Sugar, light Vanilla, Toffee, Nut Shells, Straw, Alcohol, Refill Oak, Licorice, Pepper and Nutmeg.

Finish: Middle-Long and Sugary Sweet with Malt, Nut Shells, light Bitter Citrus, Mint, Pepper, Licorice and Cloves.   

Don't add Water to this Blend. You will ruin it completely.

Rating: 68 

Nose: 17.5 - Taste: 17 - Finish: 16.5 - Overall: 17

The Glenalmond Sample

General Remarks: Glenalmond, named after the river Almond, is a Blended Malt prepared by the The Vintage Malt Whisky Company. This Independent Bottler was founded in 1992 by Brian Cook, a guy with over 20 years of experience in the Malt Whisky Industry. It's a Blended Malt containing selected Malt from an undisclosed but small number of Highland distilleries. It sells at an average 40 US Dollars but in some places you can find it for 20 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Well Below Average. 

Conclusion: The Glenalmond tastes like a younger version of the Speyside 12 Years I tasted earlier this year. In both cases I was unable to detect interesting Aromas and Flavours. A result of indifferent Spirit and Refill Cask. At 20 US Dollars it's not expensive of course and you can't expect top quality. Still, I would prefer to spend my money elsewhere. For less money you can buy a good Standard American Bourbon. So if you like both Spirits, cheap Bourbon is always the better option when compared to cheap Scotch. As for today's  Glenalmond, you can drink it but there's no enjoyment to be found. Glenalmond Everyday, No Way!

Jan van den Ende                                                          December 20, 2014

Craigellachie 2002 Review

“It’s Coopers Choice….But Not Mine”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Speyside
Brand: Craigellachie 2002 (Coopers Choice) 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8-9 Years
ABV: 46 %

Colour: Deep Gold with a touch of Orange.

Nose: Sherry at first, followed by Malt, Apricot, Nuts, Buttered Toast and Orange Marmalade, Espresso Coffee, Brown Sugar, Toffee, Syrup, Heather, Straw and Oak. But then it becomes more Herbal and Grassy with a slightly Sour Off-Note reminding me of decomposed organic matter. The ABV of 46% is correct but unfortunately the Alcohol is not fully integrated. I'm not convinced by this Nose. It is similar to - and not that much better than your average Blended Scotch.

Palate: Slightly Sour and Bitter-Sweet with Buttered Toast, Malt, Sherry, Oak, Toffee, Syrup, Archive Boxes, Orange, Wax and light Pepper.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with Orange Marmalade, Malt, Caramel, Oak, light Pepper, Sour Cherries and a hint of Licorice.

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes quite Grainy and a bit Musty. The Palate and Finish do not benefit from the added H2O as well.

Rating: 80

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

General Remarks: The Craigellachie Distillery was built in 1891 and is located between Craigellachie and Aberlour in Banffshire. Since 1998 it's owned by John Dewar & Sons, part of Bacardi. The 14 Years is the only Distillery bottling. Most of the production disappears in the Dewar's Blends. During our trip to Scotland in May we passed the Distillery. Unfortunately it's not open to the public. We took a picture (in the rain) but I can't find it at the moment. Will add it later to this Post.

The Single Malt we are tasting today was distilled in 2002 and bottled in 2011. It was matured by - and bottled for The Vintage Malt Whisky Co. Ltd under their brand name Coopers Choice. This Independent Bottler was founded in 1992 by Brian Cook, a guy with over 20 years of experience in the Malt Whisky Industry. It matured in an Ex-Sherry Butt (Cask # 90008) and costs around 50 US Dollars. I assume that this whisky is naturally coloured and not chill-filtered.

Drinking Experience Neat: Disappointing.

Conclusion: Dewar's White Label is one of my less favourite Blends and that's an understatement. I truly hope that it did not affect my objectiveness when Nosing and Tasting this Craigellachie. Because I did not find this Single Malt to be very attractive. The Nose starts with Sherry but quite soon there was this Compost like Off Note that I didn't care for. And on the Palate and in the Finish some Bitter-Sweet and Sour Flavour components did spoil some of the fun as well. I wouldn't buy a full bottle of this Craigellachie nor recommend that to my friends.

Jan van den Ende                                                        September 9, 2014