BenRiach 1999/2014 Cask 7466 Review - BenRiach Dun Bheagan 1999/2012 (Ian MacLeod) Review - BenRiach Authenticus 21 Years Review


“BenRiach Special”

When planning my reviews I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with specific distilleries like today or bottlers, regions or countries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate more on the Whisky itself and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review three expressions produced at the Speyside Distillery BenRiach. Enjoy!
================================================



Whisky Review # 763

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: BenRiach 1999 - Bottled in October 2014
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Cask #7466 - 302 Bottles
Selected and Bottled for: The Netherlands
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 53.3% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Virgin Oak Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 80 (August 2018)
Buying Advice:😐 It's okay but the Wood is too dominant for my taste!

Colour:

Light Copper (Natural Colour) - Very Dark Colour - Active Cask.

Nose:

Sweet with lots of Fruit and Vanilla. The Virgin Oak is noticeable and cask #7466 must have been an active one. It yielded 302 bottles and that's quite a lot in my opinion. Still, no other casks are mentioned.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Cake and Whipped Cream, Banana, Apple, Pear, Bounty Candy Bars, Virgin Oak, Varnish, Marzipan, Grass, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Butterscotch, Golden Syrup, Nuts, Pineapple, Nectarine, Sawdust, Milk Chocolate, Lemon, Orange and Mint.


Palate:

Sweet with developing Bitter & Sour notes. The Virgin Oak is too strong for me.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Sugared Almonds, Apple, Pear, Orange Peel, Oak, 
Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Golden Syrup, Honey, Grapefruit, Lemon, Earth, Grass and Coconut.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Woody. Medium-Dry towards the end. The Oak is too strong for my personal taste. I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Virgin Oak, Honey, Sugared Almonds, Grass, Syrup, Apple, Orange Peel, Lemon(Grass), Varnish, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

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

Rating: 82.5

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

Drinking Experience:

Not bad but way too Woody for me.

Conclusion:

The BenRiach distillery was founded in 1897 by John Duff & Co and is located in Longmorn, Elgin (Morayshire). It changed hands a couple of times in its history but in April 2016 it was bought by Brown Forman. BenRiach produced more or less 2,3 million litres in 2017. The core range includes a/o the NAS Heart of Speyside, the 10, 16, 20, 25 and 35 years. The peated varieties include a/o the Birnie Moss, the Curiositas 10, the Septendecim 17 and the Authenticus 25. I have not yet been able to visit this Distillery. We passed by in 2014 but it was closed for maintenance at the time. BenRiach Spirit is also used in Blends like Chivas Regal, 100 Pipers and Queen Anne.

The BenRiach 1999 specially bottled for The Netherlands is a bit of a Strange Kinda Woman as the Deep Purple song goes. It doesn't smell and above all taste like your regular Single Malt from this Speyside distillery. The main reason in my opinion is the extremely active Virgin Oak cask. The Wood completely dominates the Spirit, especially on the Palate and in the Finish. Too much so for my taste. So while this is not a bad Single Malt I wouldn't want to own a full bottle of this. For Oak Ridge Boys fans only!


=================================================


Whisky Review # 764

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Bottled by: Ian MacLeod
Brand: BenRiach Dun Bheagan 1999
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years - Bottled 2012
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Petrus Gaia Wine Finish - Casks 90281 + 90282 - 730 Bottles
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 50 (August 2018) - Very difficult to find.
Buying Advice: πŸ˜‘ Price/Quality ratio is okay. Not my type of Whisky though.

Colour:

Orange Blossom Honey (Natural Colour)

Nose:

I find both Sweet and Sour notes and a little bit of Sulphur. Nothing serious though. On the Nose this BenRiach is a little introvert so be sure to give it enough time in the glass. The ABV is not very high but the Alcohol is presentThe Red Wine Finish is noticeable but not in an overwhelming way. The Nose is a bit plain I'm afraid.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits*), Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Honey, Sugared Almonds, Stewed Apples, Cinnamon, Sour Berries/Cherries and Red Grapes.

* You will really notice the Butter Kekse if you rub a bit of Whisky in the palm of your hand. Give it a try!

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Floral notes, Marzipan, Orange, Banana, Pear, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Yeast and Dried Fruit. A little Leather perhaps.



Palate:

A little Thin and slightly Hot. A combo of Bitter Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Wood spice. Our French friend Petrus Gaia is noticeable but does not dominate.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Sour Berries/Cherries, Oak, Red Grapes, Pepper, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Marzipan, Orange, Lemon, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Nutmeg and Cardamom.

Finish:

A little Thin, Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with developing Sour notes towards the Medium Dry end. Quite Hot & Peppery. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Honey, Almonds, Dried Fruit, Dusty Track, Milk Chocolate, Oak, Dark Red Fruit, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Menthol and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Alcohol naturally retreats on the Nose. You also loose quite a few Aromas this way. Simple Orchard Fruit takes the lead. The Palate and Finish become less sharp as well but also end up on the plain side. I prefer to sip it without added Water.

Rating: 82

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay. Nothing more. The Red Wine Finish is not too dominant. I'm not too crazy about the casks though.

Conclusion:

I'm not sure what type of casks were used to mature this BenRiach. I do know however that it was finished for an unknown period of time (probably a few months) in a cask or casks that previously held Red Wine produced at Chateau Petrus Gaia situated to the south of the Dordogne river in Ruch in the Bordeaux region. This French Chateau uses Merlot (80%), Cabernet-Sauvignon (16%) and Cabernet Franc (4%) grapes.

I'm not too fond of Red Wine cask finished Whisky in general but in this case the result is okay I suppose. The Petrus Gaia cask(s) add Sweetness but not in an annoying way. I can't get really excited about this BenRiach though and I think the casks are to blame. They add a type of almost aggressive Wood spice that I don't really care for. Again, this is not a bad Single Malt but I would not buy a full bottle of this although the Price/Quality ratio is quite acceptable. Let's hope the third and last of today's BenRiachs can bring a smile to my face!
=================================================



Whisky Review # 765

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: BenRiach Authenticus (Peated Malt)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: A mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-190 (August 2018) - Discontinued
Buying Advice: πŸ˜€ Good Single Malt. Discontinued - Quite expensive now!

Colour:

Golden Sunlight (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Nice Peat, even after 21 Years. There are some Medicinal notes too that remind me of a well-matured Southern-Islay Malt. The Sherry is noticeable although it remains in the background. The Alcohol is nicely integrated. On the Nose, this BenRiach doesn't really show a lot of complexity but it's pleasant enough.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Toast, Earthy Peat, Soft Smoke, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricot, Stewed Apple, Dried Herbs, Aniseed, Cloves, Cinnamon and Bacon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Iodine, Bandage, Wet Sand, Heather-Honey, Pine Resin, Leather, Orange/Lemon Peel, Ripe Pineapple, Almonds, Nutmeg and Pepper.


Palate:

A little Thin despite the good ABV. On the Palate this BenRiach presents a mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. The Alcohol is more noticeable. Strong Licorice & Menthol notes. Quite Dry.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Earthy Peat, Soft Smoke, Cigar Ashes, Smoked Meat and Bacon, Tar, Herbal Tea, Dark Red Berries, Green Apple, Charred Oak, Sweet Licorice, Menthol, Aniseed, Pepper, Cinnamon and Cocoa Powder.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Figs, Mixed Nuts, Citrus Peel, Straw/Manure, Lavender, Mustard Seeds, Leather and Tobacco.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, slightly Medicinal and a little Hot. Some Sour notes as well towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Tar, Earthy Peat, Soft Smoke, Ashes, Smoked Meat, Iodine, Straw/Manure, Charred Oak, Heather-Honey, Dried Herbs, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, Dark Red Fruit, Green Apple, Black Tea, Pepper, Cinnamon, Mustard Seeds, Licorice and Menthol. Dark Chocolate after a while.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Peat/Smoke retreats on the Nose. A bit more Apples and perhaps Pears appear. Palate and Finish become too Thin for my taste. Even more Menthol in the Finish.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience:

Good. A bit too much Menthol and Licorice on the Palate and in the Finish for my personal taste.

Conclusion:

The peated Authenticus 21 Years has unfortunately been discontinued in the meantime but has been replaced by the peated Authenticus 25 Years. The 21 years has always  been a limited edition with a total of 4800 bottles per year. I bought a miniature in 2011. I believe it was bottled around 2009.

The 21 years is a well-made Single Malt but it has its flaws as well. I think that the ABV is a tad too low. The powerful Spices and Wood that come with old age deserve a stronger Alcohol companion. As it stands, the Nose is not spectacular and complex but okay. Palate and Finish suffer a bit from the strong Licorice and Menthol that take control. I personally believe that this Single Malt would shine when matured between 15 and 18 years. Still, the 21 Years Authenticus is by far the best of the three BenRiach expressions I'm presenting today! Cheers and until next week!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 20, 2018

Wemyss Malts Barbeque Sauce 1990 (18 Years) Review - Wemyss Malts Sea Smoke 1984 (24 Years) Review


“Wemyss Malts Special” 

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the next months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with an independent bottler like today or with specific countries, distilleries or regions. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't go into too much details of distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's special I will review two Single Malts released by Wemyss Malts UK, respectively distilled at Mortlach (Speyside) and Caol Ila (Islay). Enjoy!
================================================



Whisky Review # 761

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Wemyss Malts Barbeque Sauce 1990
Tube sold by: Cigars and Spirits
Distilled at: Mortlach
Type: Single Malt (Single Cask?) Whisky - Bottled August 2008 - 576 Bottles
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask? (See Colour!)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 80 (August 2018) - Discontinued - Hard to Find
Buying Advice: πŸ˜‘ It's okay but no more than that. It isnt' worth US$ 80!

Colour:

Copper (Natural Colour). Very dark colour for the Natural Colour/Bourbon Single Cask combination. I have no official explanation for this. Is it a Single Cask? It's very strange that no cask number is mentioned. One Bourbon cask would give around 200 bottles after 18 years. The total of 576 bottles suggests a larger cask or more than 1 cask (Probably three). Is European Oak involved somehow? Was/Were the cask(s) heavily Charred? If anybody knows more please leave a comment in the Comments sector!

Nose:

Mostly Sweet and quite Fatty. A few strange Notes include Compost Heap, Paint Thinner, Driftwood and Metal. The intensity of these off-notes diminishes over time so make sure to give this Mortlach sufficient time in the glass. The Alcohol is noticeable. There are lots of Aroma Accents to be discovered but it's a bit of a mixed bag and I miss Balance and Direction. I would not have recognised this as a Mortlach in a Blind tasting.  

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Dough, Biscuits, Apricot Filled Puff Pastry, Old Book Shelves, Roasted Coffee Beans, Compost Heap (including overripe Fruit like Apples and Pears & wasted Vegetables), Mint, Candyfloss and Raw Bacon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Caramel, Sugared Almonds, Heather-Honey, Dusty Track, Bitter Orange, Cinnamon, Driftwood, Cigar Box, Paint Thinner/Varnish, Bounty Candy Bars, Slightly Sour White Grapes and Leather.


Palate:

Sweet, quite Dry and slightly Hot with developing Bitter and Sour notes.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Sour Yellow Plums, Pear, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Grapefruit, Apple, Grappa, Sour Berries, Heather-Honey, Stewed Rhubarb, Dusty Track, Charred Oak, Bitter Orange and Nutmeg.

Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Hot. Sugary Sweet at first but with increasing Bitter - and Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry/Dry end. A Metallic off-note stays with you for a minute or so. I also find Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Charred Oak, Bitter Orange & Grapefruit, Unripe Berries, Lemon, Grappa, Milk Chocolate, Pear,  Wet Rocks, Dusty Track, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and that helps relaxing this Malt a little bit. The overall Aroma/Flavour profile does not change a whole lot but it's easier to enjoy this way. In this case I therefore recommend a few drops of Water.

Rating: 80.5

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

Drinking Experience:

Okay but confusing and not really Satisfying.

Conclusion:

The Wemyss Family has been involved in the Single Malt business ever since the turn of the 19th century when John Haig built his first distillery on Wemyss land.
Their range of Single Cask Whiskies was conceived with the aim of making them more accessible and understandable. That's why the Wemyss Malts are named after the Aromas and Flavours rather than simply mentioning the Distillery name. A Wemyss tasting panel, lead by Isabella Wemyss and Charlie MacLean have the pleasant task of identifying the casks that will be used for the Blended Malt - or Single Cask range.

This Tasting Session was more like a Wrestling Match. At times I would find an interesting Aroma or Flavour but a few moments later I was punched in the face by some weird off-note. I could have wrestled for hours without the match being declared in favour of one of the extremes. It's a mixed bag of everything and I can't find any Balance and/or Direction. In general I am a fan of the Mortlach distillery but in this specific case I can't relate at all to the malt. I already wrote above that I wouldn't have recognised this Malt as a Mortlach in a Blind Tasting session. The best way to describe my feelings towards this Wemyss expression is that I'm confused. I'm confused about the Colour, the cask or casks, Aromas and Flavours. It's been a while since I encountered such an Unbalanced Malt. Do I recommend it? It's hard to say although luckily for me it will be hard to find as it has been discontinued. I don't think it's worth US$ 80. That's for sure. The rest I'm not very sure about 😡. 

Let's see if the Caol Ila is an easier animal!

=================================================



Whisky Review # 762

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Wemyss Malts Sea Smoke 1984
Tube sold by: Cigars and Spirits
Distilled at: Caol Ila
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Bottled August 2008 - 248 Bottles
Age: 24 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55% - At or Around Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 250-275 (August 2018)- Discontinued - Hard to Find
Buying Advice: πŸ˜‹ What a great Single Malt. Safe buy if you can find it!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour).

Nose:

Lovely Mature Islay. The Smoke and Peat are there of course but after 24 years they don't control the procedures anymore but act as a solid base for the other Aromas. Quite a few Medicinal and Farmyard notes. On the Nose this Caol Ila is mainly sweet but a few Sour Aromas develop along the way. Quite nice and Well Balanced.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast, Biscuits, Vanilla, a mixture of Clay, Straw and Cow Manure, Iodine, Band-Aid, Brine, Soot, Dirty Earth, Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ, Smoked Bacon, Wet Rocks, Charred Oak, Leather, Sour Apples, Lemon, Blackcurrants, Herbal Tea, Mint, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Salted Butter, Toffee, Tobacco, Rubber, Toasted Almonds, Dusty Track, Grass, Cloves, Milk Chocolate, Tinned Pineapple and Grapefruit.


Palate:

Well Matured Islay Single Malts are among my favourite Whiskies and this is no exception. Very nice interplay between Cask and Spirit. Good ABV. On the Palate this Caol Ila is Bitter-Sweet, Herbal and Fruity. A few nice Sour notes as well for Balance. Good stuff!

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Grass/Straw, Smoked Fish and Shellfish, Bacon, Soot, Ashes, Iodine, Blackcurrants, Sour Apples, Herbal Tea, Wet Rocks, Charred Oak, Pepper, Mint, Licorice and Aniseed.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grapefruit, Lemon, Leather, Tobacco, Toasted Almonds, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Espresso.

Finish:

Quite Long, Bitter-Sweet, Ashy, Oily, Herbal and Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Toffee/Caramel, Blackcurrants, Green Apples, Lemon, Grapefruit, Smoked Fish and Shellfish, Bacon, Charred Oak, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Dirty Earth, Wet Rocks, Salted Butter, Leather, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Menthol, Aniseed, Licorice, Chocolate and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Caol Ila becomes more Fruitier. Not bad as well but less intense. This a matter of personal taste. I prefer it neat but you can certainly add a little Water to this Single Malt.

Rating: 89

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

Drinking Experience:

Very Nice!

Conclusion:

What a come back by Wemyss. What a difference with the Mortlach. This Caol Ila has everything I like in a mature Islay Single Malt. It has depth, it has balance and a very nice interplay between Cask and Spirit. Great Aromas and Flavours and a perfect ABV. There's nothing to complain here. This goes straight into my All Time Top 15. It will be very difficult to find a bottle of this Caol Ila and if you do, you will find it very expensive. But it's worth the effort and the money! If you could see my face right now you would find me smiling from ear to ear. Lovely Whisky!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  August 13, 2018

Aultmore 1997 15 Years (Master of Malt Cask 3560) Review - Aultmore 1991 20 Years (Wilson & Morgan Cask 2683) Review


Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the next months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with a specific distillery like today or with specific bottlers, countries or regions. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't go into too much details of distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In today's special I will review two Indie expressions distilled at Aultmore - Speyside. Enjoy!
================================================



Whisky Review # 759

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand:  Aultmore 1997 - Distilled: May 15
Bottled By: Master of Malt - Single Cask Series - Bottled: April 1, 2013
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Cask # 3560 - 261 Bottles
Age: 15 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 55.8% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Information Not Available Anymore -  Discontinued
Buying Advice: πŸ˜‹ Very tasty Speyside Malt. I wouldn't mind own a full bottle!

Colour:

Chardonnay (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Sweet, Waxy, Fruity and Floral. Pleasant although the Alcohol is noticeable. Not really complex. Lots of Fresh Fruit and Puff-Pastry.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Orange, Grass, Straw, Lemon, Wax, Caffe Latte, Warm Apple/Peach filled Puff Pastry, Banana and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Floral Perfume, Toffee, Herbs, Charred Oak, Toasted Almonds, Butterscotch, Milk Chocolate, Pear and Mineral notes.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Fruity and Buttery. The Cask Strength is noticeable and Herbs and Spices come to play.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Apple and Melon filled Puff-Pastry, Banana, Hay, Grass, Orange and Lemon Peel, Vanilla, Pepper and Menthol/Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather Honey, Toasted Almonds, Pear, Cinnamon, Dried Herbs, Ginger, Licorice, Cloves and Charred Oak.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and slightly Hot. Lots of Fruit again accompanied by Herbs and Spices. I find Toasted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Salted Butter, Apple-filled Puff-Pastry, Banana, Vanilla, Grass/Hay, Lemon and Orange Peel, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves, Licorice, Menthol, White Chocolate and Caffe Latte. A slight Metallic note pops up every once in a while.

Drinking Advice:

I added a few drops of Water and the Alcohol basically disappears on the Nose. Palate and Finish benefit as well. The overall Aroma/Flavour profile does not change a lot but this Aultmore certainly benefits from a little added water!

Rating: 87

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

Drinking Experience:

Very nice!

Conclusion:

The Aultmore distillery is located in Keith (Banffshire) and was founded in 1896 by Alexander Edward. It is owned by John Dewar & Sons since 1923. Dewar used to belong to the Diageo Group but was sold to Bacardi in 1998. The core range was extended in 2014 and now includes the 12, 18, 21 and 25 Years. All these are Non Chill-Filtered, Uncoloured and bottled at 46%.

This is only my second Aultmore and once again I'm pleasantly surprised. Very nice Fruity and Buttery Malt. Cask Strength is perhaps a tad too much Alcohol so I advise you to add a few drops of Water. Unfortunately, this Single Malt has been discontinued and it will be hard to find a bottle. I have no idea about the price but I would certainly love to have a bottle of this Aultmore in my cabinet. It's not really a complex Single Malt but it's damned tasty. Good stuff!


=================================================


Whisky Review # 760

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Aultmore 1991
Bottled By: Wilson & Morgan - Barrel Selection - Bottled: September 29, 2011
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Cask 2683 - 744 Bottles
Age: 20 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Sherry Butt
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 100-150 (August 2018)
Buying Advice: πŸ˜€ Good Sherried Speyside Malt. A bit too much Sulphur.

Colour:

Tawny/Auburn (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Sherry cask without any shadow of a doubt. Sweet with lots of Dark Fruit, Nuts and Christmas Cake. Quite some Sulphur as well although it barely stays within my personal limits. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Mixed Nuts, Dried Herbs, Straw, Dark Chocolate, Mandarin Juice, Hot Rum Coffee and Mint.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Floral Perfume, Caramel, Vanilla Biscuits, Nutmeg, Cloves, Nutella, Orange Peel, slightly Sour Berries, Apple, Leather and Maggi Seasoning Sauce.


Palate:

Sweet and Medium-Dry. Lots of Tannins. The Oak is quite noticeable and so is the Sulphur I'm afraid.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots and Plums, Nuts, Sour Berries, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Orange Peel, Cloves, Nutmeg and Roasted Coffee.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Blackberry Muffins, Treacle, Rum, Overripe Banana, Buttered Toast and Honey, Pepper, Licorice, Tobacco, Menthol and Leather.

Finish:

Long, Woody and Tannic. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end. The Sulphur remains quite present. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Dried Fruit (Plums and Apricots), Blackberry Jam, Oak, Seville Orange, Straw, Hazelnuts, Salted Butter, Brandy/Rum, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Black Espresso, Toffee, Dark Chocolate, Menthol and Leather.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Aultmore despite the high ABV. It doesn't get bad mind you but it looses intensity.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience:

Good Sherried Speysider. Quite a bit of Sulphur on the Palate and in the Finish. 

Conclusion:

A Completely different Aultmore but again it does not disappoint. The 1997 is a well-made Speyside Whisky and if you like GlenDronach, Glenfarclas or Aberlour you should give this sherried Aultmore a chance if you can find it. It's got quite a bit of Sulphur but I still fully enjoyed the sample. If I were to choose between the two Aultmore Malts I've tasted today I will go for the 1995 15 Years (Master of Malt). It's really good that Aultmore has extended its core range. I certainly hope to find one or more expressions during my upcoming trip to Europe and the Travel Retail shops! This new core range will certainly bring this distillery on the Single Malt map. And deservedly so!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   August 6, 2018

Canadian Club 6 Years Whisky Review - Sullivans Cove American Oak Cask Review - Wasmund's Single Malt Review - Old Red Review


“All Around the World”

Introduction:

Most of you know that I mainly use samples and miniatures when preparing my Reviews. I usually buy these in Holland and sometimes in Germany or the UK. Sometimes I receive samples from friends or readers or independent bottlers. In only two cases I received a few samples directly from distilleries. When planning my reviews for the coming months I always try to give attention to all Scottish Whisky regions as well as other Whisky/Whiskey/Bourbon producing regions all over the world with special attention to the USA, Ireland and Japan. And last but not least the blends. At the request of many readers I give preference to more recent expressions. As a result, my backlog of older samples has increased quite a bit. To do justice to those samples I will review them in the format of Specials. These specials will deal with specific countries like today or bottlers, regions or distilleries. The reviews in these Specials will concentrate on the Whisky and won't touch too much details about distilleries, maturation etc. I do hope you will like these Specials just as much as my regular reviews and I look forward to your reactions and suggestions. In this special I will review four random Whiskies from Canada, Australia, the USA and Brazil. Enjoy!
================================================



Whisky Review # 755

Country: Canada
Distillery: Hiram Walker & Sons
Brand: Canadian Club
Type: Barrel Blended Canadian Whisky
Age: 6 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: New White Oak Barrels
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 15-25 (July 2018)
Buying Advice: 😏 Not good enough as a Sipping Blend. For Mixing only! 

Colour:

Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Quite Thin and Weak. The Alcohol is very prominent. It's more like a Flavoured Vodka or White Rum actually. A light mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. I do not detect any serious off-notes.

Main Aromas:

Cereals, Slightly Burnt Toast with Margarine spread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Hay,  Vanilla, Almond, Apple, Mint and Citrus Peel.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Burnt Grass and Heather, Acetone, Gooseberries, Oak Char, Banana, Pineapple, Green Tobacco, Cabbage and Aniseed.



Palate:

Thin, Watery and slightly Harsh. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. A mix of Sugary Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes.

Main Flavours:

Cereals, Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Apple, Gooseberries, Oak Char, Vodka, Pepper and Green Tobacco.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Burnt Grass, Rye, Cherry Flavoured Cough Syrup, Nuts, Citrus Peel, Cinnamon, Mint, Nutmeg, Ginger and Licorice/Aniseed.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Thin and Harsh. A combination of Sugary Sweet, Sour and Bitter notes. I find Cereals, Corn Syrup, Rye Spice, Caramel, Vanilla, Acetone, Pepper, Vodka, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Lemon-Peel, Apple and Oak Char.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Canadian Club becomes less harsh. It also gets dangerously Thin though. Just add a few drops to find your preferred balance. It really doesn't matter a whole lot as this Blend is basically suited for cocktails.

Rating: 72

Nose: 18.5 - Taste: 18 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 18

Drinking Experience:

Below Average. Not interesting enough as a sipping Whisky.

Conclusion:

Canadian Club Whisky was created by Hiram Walker in the year 1858 and has been produced ever since then in the Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery located in Windsor (Ontario). Nowadays, the distillery is owned by Pernod Ricard from France. The Canadian Club Brand however is owned by Beam Suntory. Corn,  Malted Rye, Rye and Barley are part of the mash bill for Canadian Club. It ages for 6 Years in a mix of New - and Refill White Oak casks. In recent years the 6 years has been reformulated to a NAS Whisky called "1858" Extra Aged. This goes to say it aged longer than the Canadian legal requirement of 3 years. Most likely it aged for around 5 Years. Please find my Review of the NAS version here.

The 6 Years I am tasting today comes from a miniature plastic bottle of 50 ml. that I bought a few years ago. Around 15% of the contents has evaporated in the meantime. The miniature was destined for the US market as it was imported and bottled by Canadian Club Import Company, Deerfield Illinois.

The six years is slightly better than the more recent NAS expression I reviewed earlier. It's a little less Harsh and a bit more flavourful. Nevertheless, the Canadian Club 6 Years is not interesting and mature enough to seriously consider it as a sipping Whisky. It actually reminds me more of a Flavoured Vodka. It's quite cheap of course which probably makes it a fine base for cocktails. But those are not my speciality I'm afraid. Let's leave Canada now and go Down Under.


=================================================


Whisky Review # 756

Country: Australia
Region: Tasmania
Brand: Sullivans Cove American Oak Cask
Type: Single Malt Whisky (Small Batch - Single Cask)
Age: NAS (Said to be 10-11 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 47.5%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-350 (July 2018)
Buying Advice: πŸ˜€ Well-Made Whisky - 😑 Ridiculous Price!

Colour:

Light Golden (Natural Colour).

Nose:

An overwhelming Aroma of Cereals, Fruit, Fresh Wood and Vanilla. Quite Rich. Mainly Sweet and Buttery but with a few slightly Sour notes as well. It's not very complex but quite pleasant nonetheless.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Butter, Grass/Hay, Marzipan, Milk Chocolate, Bounty Candy Bar, Banana Ice Cream, Mango, Red Apples, Hazelnut, Cinnamon & Fresh Wood.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Brown Sugar, Dusty Track, Floral Soap, Grapefruit Juice, Orange- and Lemon Peel, White Grapes, Ginger and Pepper.


Palate:

Relatively Young, Creamy, Buttery and Sweet. Again, not very complex but well-made.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Butter, Whipped Cream, Apricot Jam, Apple, Mandarin, Milk Chocolate, Orange, Hay, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Dusty Track, Hazelnuts, Lemon, Cherry-Flavoured Candies, Tinned Pineapple and Pepper.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Creamy and Sweet at First. An increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. I find Sweet Malted Barley, Vanilla, Hazelnuts, Milk Chocolate, Honey, Orange-Peel, Tinned Pineapple, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Apricot Jam, Fresh Oak, Apple, Straw, Cinnamon, Pepper, Aniseed and Tobacco.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample, I only enjoyed this Sullivans Cove neat.

Rating: 85

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

Drinking Experience:

Good.

Conclusion:

Sullivan's Cove Distillery is located in Cambridge, Tasmania and was founded in 1994. It really started to shine in 1999 when Patrick Maguire took over. Sullivan buys their Wash from the Cascade Brewery in Hobart. In 2016 Sullivan was bought by Adam Sable (Ex-Bladnoch). The distillery uses Water from the rain forest that surrounds the distillery.

I Bought my small sample at Master of Malt (Drinks by the Dram) a couple of years ago. Unfortunately there's little or no information on the label as to when this particular batch was produced and bottled. I'm also not sure whether it was a Limited Single Cask Edition or not. I don't think so but...

I'm pleasantly surprised with the quality of this Aussie. It reminds me of a West European mainland Whisky. Millstone from Holland came to my mind. Sullivans Cove has won quite a few awards during the last years. I normally do not pay much attention to these awards as they are Industry-driven but in this case the awards lead to an absurd price increase of the Sullivans Cove Whisky. And that's a pity because only very few people will be ready to pay 200 or 300 US Dollars for a Young Whisky like this. And while it's well-made it's not at all complex. A mix of Cereals, Butter, Vanilla and Fruit. A good Breakfast Whisky! I wish this Distillery all the best because the quality deserves it. I would urge them to revise their price policy though. This is way out of line!


=================================================


Whisky Review # 757

Country: USA
Distillery: Copper Fox, Sperryville, Virginia
Brand: Wasmund's
Type: Single Malt Whisky (Small Batch)
Age: NAS (Said to be 12-42 Months depending on the batch)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Fresh American Oak (With Added Wood Chips)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 35-45 (July 2018)
Buying Advice: πŸ˜” Interesting Experiment. Expensive Bark-Juice!

Colour:

Dark Copper (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Very Sweet and Buttery. The Alcohol is quite present. A light Vomit-like off note. It's been a while since I noticed that in a Single malt.

Main Aromas:

Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Cereals, Grass/Straw, Farm Yard, Herbal Tea, Sour Cherries, Wet Earth, Dusty Track and Tree Bark.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Caramel, Yeast, Apple, Acetone, Sawdust, Pepper, Gasoline, Imitation Leather, Bonfire Smoke, Sweaty Feet and Milk Chocolate.


Palate:

Very Sweet and slightly Hot and Musty. The Wood influence is overwhelming. It's almost like Liquid Oak.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Vanilla, Herbal Tea, Ashes, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Sour Apple, Oak Char, Pepper, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Bonfire Smoke, Caramel, Treacle, Wet Earth, Dusty Track, Gasoline, Sawdust, Paint Thinner, Nut Shells, Cinnamon, Pipe Tobacco and Aniseed.

Finish:

Long, Edgy and quite Hot. Sweet at First but Bitter towards the end. Lots of Oak Char and Ash. I also find Barley Sugar, Vanilla, Caramel, Pepper, Cherry Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Sour Apples, Treacle, Licorice, Herbal Tea, Mint, Paint Thinner and Nut Shells.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Wasmund's.

Rating: 73

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

Drinking Experience:

Below average! There are some interesting ideas here but the execution could be more refined.

Conclusion:

Copper Fox was founded in 2000 by Rick Wasmund. In 2005 a new distillery was built on a different location and production started in 2006. Copper Fox does its own floor Malting and the Barley is dried with selected Fruit-wood. After distillation the Spirit is filled in American Oak barrels together with toasted chips of Apple - and Cherry wood as well as some Oak chips. All this of course to speed up the maturation process. A second distillery was opened recently in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Unfortunately my sample does not state when the specific batch was distilled, nor how long (short) it matured. In any case we are talking about a very young Whisky that was forced to mature rapidly in a Sea of Wood. Now please don't get me wrong! I am totally open to new ideas in the production of Whisky and I fully applaud what the people at Copper Fox are trying out. I also think though that there is a huge difference between a careful mix of traditional maturation and Wood Chips and drowning the Spirit in tons of Wood Chips, Apple - Cherry or otherwise. Because I don't think the Whisky world is really ready for Bark Juice. I know I ain't! So my advise to Copper Fox would be to further exploit the use of Wood Chips bearing in mind that Wood should serve the Spirit, not the other way around. Good Luck Rick!



=================================================


Whisky Review # 758

Country: Brazil
Brand: Old Red
Type: Malt Whisky Drink
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 38%
Maturation: What?
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 6-8 (July 2018
Buying Advice: πŸ˜₯ Borderline Drinkable. Very cheap Basis for Mixed drinks.

Colour:

Copper (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Sharp, very Thin and Watery. It's basically Coloured Alcohol. No real off-notes.

Main Aromas:

Alcohol (Vodka), Sugar, Nut Shells, Wood Pellets and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Burnt Toast, Toasted Cereals, Treacle and Cooked Apples.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Sharp, Thin and Watery. No offending Off-Notes.

Main Flavours:

Alcohol (Vodka or cheap White Rum), Sugar, Nut Shells, Wood Chips, Licorice and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Burnt Toast and Green Apple.

Finish:

Short en Sharp. Sugary Sweet with a few Bitter notes towards the Dry end. I find Alcohol (Vodka or cheap White Rum), Burnt Toast, Nut Shells, Wood Chips, Toffee, light Vanilla, Green Apple, Pepper and Licorice.

Drinking Advice:

You can actually add a few drops of Water to get rid of most of the sharpness. It becomes really Thin though. This is not a sipping drink. For mixing only.

Rating: 64

Nose: 16 - Taste: 16 - Finish: 16 - Overall: 16

Drinking Experience:

Way Below Average.

Conclusion:

The Old Red is produced by Casa di Conti, a beverage company founded in 1947 by the Conti family in the city of Candido Mota in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo (Brazil). They produce Vermouth, Beer, Soft Drinks, Energy Drinks & Liqueurs.

Old Red is a Malt Whisky drink made of Sugar Cane Alcohol, Sugar, 3 Year Old Malt Whisky, Oak Extract and Water.

Most of you know by now that I mainly use samples and miniatures for my Tasting sessions. I collect the miniature bottles and guard them in a nice cabinet. To give them a little more "life", I refill them with cheap local Whisky. So that's why I bought a bottle of the Old Red as I have bought bottles of quite similar stuff in the past. These locally blended Whiskies or Whisky drinks are indeed very cheap and in today's Whisky world you can't expect miracles at this price level.

Old Red is basically a coloured and sugared Alcohol. It's hard to detect the Malt Whisky that should be in there somewhere. It's not good enough as a sipping drink but its low price should make it attractive for mixing purposes, But only is quantity is more important than quality. The good thing is that I'm still alive and that Old Red is not the worst stuff I've tasted so far! Cheers! Until next week!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     July 30, 2018

=================================================