Bowmore Vintage 1988


”A Soapbox Opera”


Whisky Review # 962

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore Vintage 1988
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: Around 29 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 47.8%
Maturation: First-Fill American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks - Bottled: 2017
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 450-600 (September 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Way too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ž I had expected so much more. But ๐Ÿ‘Œ if you're into Perfume ๐Ÿ˜‰

Colour:

Golden Sunlight (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Quite Light and Introvert for a 29 year old Single Malt. The casks were probably not heavily charred. The Peat and Smoke have softened up over the years and form a pleasant and delicate base for the other Aroma components. The Nose presents a mix of Sweet, Sour, Salty and Mineral notes. The Alcohol is nicely integrated.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Soft Peat and Smoke from a Distant Fire, Ashes, Roasted Nuts, Lemon, Grapefruit, Apple Cider, Wet Rocks and Sand, Meat on the BBQ, Cinnamon, Curry and Coriander Powder.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather Honey, Floral Perfume/Soap, Grass & Straw, Creme de Cassis, Iodine, Tar, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Toasted Pineapple, Cloves, Ginger, Pepper and Mint.


Palate:

It's like entering a Perfume shop rather than a Whisky warehouse. I know that lots of Bowmore malts from this period have this characteristic but I never found it to be quite as overwhelming as in this case. Not really my style I'm afraid.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Soft Peat, Smoke from a Distant Fire, Meat on the BBQ, Floral Perfume/Soap, Grapefruit and Lemon, Tart Apple, Bitter Almonds, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Toasted Pineapple, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Mint, Licorice and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Ashes, Tar, Iodine, Pebbles, Dusty Track, Mandarin Juice, Nougat, Bounty, Tobacco, Leather, Ginger and Pepper.      


Finish:

Quite Long, Bitter-Sweet and quite Perfumy. The latter is characteristic for Bowmore malt produced in the 80's but in this case it's a bit too pronounced in my opinion. The Alcohol is more noticeable now and the Finish is slightly Sharp. I find Toasted & Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Soft Peat, Distant Smoke, Ashes, Iodine, Floral Soap/Perfume, Meat on the BBQ, Lemon, Grapefruit, Apple, Dusty Track, Dusty Oak, Pebbles, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Tobacco, Pepper, Mint, Aniseed, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice and Leather. Rather Dry in the end.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that adds floral notes to the Nose and the Palate. Rose Water comes to my mind. The Finish becomes quite Thin though. You can add a few drops but don't overdo it.

Rating: 84.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2)

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 960 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Not bad but very Perfumy and Underwhelming.


Conclusion:

Bowmore is the oldest Islay Distillery and was founded in 1779 by David Simpson. It changed hands various times along the years but since 1994 the Japanese Suntory group controls Bowmore. Bowmore still malts around 30% of the Barley on their premises. They currently produce over 2 million liters of Alcohol p.a. The core range includes the 12, the 15 Darkest, the 18 and 25 Years. Some of the Bowmore Spirit is used in Blends like Rob Roy and Black Bottle. We visited the distillery in 2014 & 2017. I absolutely love the Malting Floor, the Shop & Visitor-Centre. Certainly well-worth the visit. The 1988 vintage was bottled and released in 2017, initially for the Travel Retail Market.

This is one of the more difficult Reviews I've written over the last 10 years. I was really looking forward to Nose and Taste this 29 Year-Old Bowmore even though Bowmore is not my favourite Islay distillery. Sad to say I'm really disappointed by the Vintage 1988. In the first place it's way too Perfumy for my likings but that's of course very personal. Bowmore's from the 80's are well-known for this. But it's too much in this case, at least for me. But secondly and that's even more important, it's quite underwhelming for a 29 Year-old Single Malt. I expected a host of warming mature Islay Aromas and Flavours but it's all rather Thin and Unassuming. Only the Soft Peat and the Distant Smoke are convincing. The rest is not. What a pity!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                    September 8, 2022

Caperdonich Peated 18 Years


”Mr. Peatyful” 


Whisky Review # 961

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside - Closed Distillery
Brand: Caperdonich Peated - Small Batch Release - Secret Speyside Collection
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: American Oak Barrels - Bottled: 2019
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 160-210 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜‘ I understand it can't be cheap but stil... 
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜€ Certainly worth a try, especially when you like Ardbeg

Colour:

Golden Amber (Probably artificially coloured)

Nose:

Quite Light and Introvert on the Nose. It feels Younger than its age. The casks were not very active if you ask me. Still, the Peat & Smoke weave a pleasant web around Fruity, Floral and Mineral notes. The Nose is mostly Sweet with a few Tart and Salty notes for balance. The Alcohol is there but does not really interfere with the Nosing procedures. Be sure to give it some time in the glass before Nosing.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Cold Bonfire Smoke, Earthy Peat, Farm Yard, Straw, Smoked Ham and Shell Fish sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Ripe Banana, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Charred Oak, Nuts, Tropical Fruit Cocktail, Tomatoes, Mint and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Tar, Ashes, Iodine, Band-Aids, Milk Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Blueberry Muffins, Pear, Leather, Cinnamon and Pepper.


Palate:

A little on the Thin side despite the adequate ABV. I have to blame the casks here. It's still sufficiently pleasant though with a mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour & Salty notes. Caperdonich was never known for its peated Whiskies but based on this expression I would say that that is a pity. Could be delicious when matured in first class casks.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Tar, Smoked Ham & Scallops on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Milk Chocolate, Black Tea, Seville-Orange, Banana, Grapefruit, Charred Oak, Pepper, Ginger and Aniseed.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Soot, Rubber, Iodine, Orchard Fruit, Mandarin, Blueberries, Resin, Toasted Almonds, Wet Rocks, Cinnamon, Mint and Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour and Salty notes as well. A little on the Thin side. Quite Dry in the end. The Ashes remain in your mouth for quite a while but in a pleasant way. It reminds me a little of Ardbeg. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Ashes, Soot, Smoked Ham and Scallops on the BBQ glazed with Honey and sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Resin, Rubber, Black Tea, Seville-Orange, Nougat, Charred Oak, Leather, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Mint, Licorice, Aniseed and strong Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

Given the size of the sample, I only tasted this Caperdonich neat.

Rating: 86.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8 (********)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


Conclusion:

This distillery was founded in 1897 by the owners of Glen Grant. It was closed five years later but re-opened in 1965 under the name Caperdonich. In the year 2002 it closed again and was sold to Forsyth in Rothes (Stills producer). A little later the buildings were demolished. Ex-owner Pernod Ricard (Chivas) released a number of peated Caperdonich malts in 2019. Normally, Caperdonich produced unpeated Malt.

I only tasted two unpeated Caperdonich Malts before today and they were okay but no more than that. I was pleasantly surprised therefore by today's peated version. The Peat and Smoke seem to combine well with the Caperdonich Spirit and remind me a bit of Ardbeg. It has its flaws though, mostly caused by the uninspired casks that leave this Single Malt a bit Thin and Youngish. But the potential is there and it's sad that we will probably never have the opportunity again to taste a fully matured peated Caperdonich that spent its life in quality casks. And that's a peaty pity!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                       August 30, 2022

Compass Box Menagerie


”Bland Me Shape Me”


Whisky Review # 960

Country: Scotland
Brand: Compass Box Menagerie - Limited Edition - 7741 Bottles - Bottled 01/2021
Type: Blended Scotch Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (See Conclusion for details)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mixed Casks (See Conclusion for details)
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 100-120 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜” Quite on the limit as far as I'm concerned
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Well-made but a bit Thin and bland for my taste 

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

Pleasant but a little Thin and Shy. A mix of Medium-Sweet & Sour Malty and Fruity notes. The Peat & Smoke of Laphroaig are noticeable despite the low percentage of this distillery in the blend. The Sherry cask influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Wet Grass and Straw, Wet Peat and Campfire Smoke, Yogurt with mixed Fruit Flavours (Strawberry, Apricot, Nectarine, Mango), Toasted Pineapple, slightly Sour Berries & Cherries, Damp Oak, Caffe Latte, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Nuts, Herbs, Resin, Wax, Iodine, Tar, Varnish, Lemon, Green Apple, Pear, Orange, Floral Perfume, Leather, Bacon and Nutmeg.

Mortlach

Palate:

Again, quite pleasant but a bit Thin. An ABV of around 46% would have been more adequate. Mostly Sweet with some additional Sour & Salty notes. Laphroaig makes its mark again. It's well-made but there's no Wow factor.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Cherry, Toasted Pineapple, Banana, Charred Oak, Caffe Latte, Damp Leaves, Mint, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg and Dark Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Honey, Salted Caramel, Tar, Hospital, Ashes, Grass and Straw, Roasted Nuts, Melon, Papaya, Mango, Lemon, Leather, Tobacco, Bacon, Cardamom, Cinnamon & Aniseed.

Finish:

Medium-Long. Sweet and Sour with a light Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end.I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Grass and Straw, Wax, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Tar, Ashes, Hospital, Leather, Tobacco, Green Apple, Grapefruit, Banana, Mango, Pear, Nectarine, Toasted Pineapple, Roasted Nuts, Mint, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper, Nutmeg, Charred Oak, Bacon and Dark Chocolate.

Glen Elgin

Drinking Advice:

Given the size of the sample, I only tasted the Menagerie neat.

Rating: 84.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Deanston

Drinking Experience Neat
: Good


Conclusion:

As always, Compass Box informs us accurately about the contents of this Blended Malt. The main component (42.6%) was produced at Mortlach distillery and matured in Re-Charred Ex Bourbon barrels. The other components are Deanston (17.1%) that matured in Re-Fill Hogsheads and Re-Fill Sherry-seasoned Butts, Glen Elgin (18.1%) that matured in Re-Charred Ex Bourbon Barrels & Re-Fill Sherry-seasoned Butts and Laphroaig (5,4%) that matured in Re-Charred Ex-Bourbon Hogsheads. The remaining 16.8% is a blend of various Highland distilleries that matured in a mix of Medium- and Heavy-toasted Custom French Oak Barrels. The idea behind the Menagerie is to show the diversity of Scotch Single Malt Whisky, but especially those that present a Meaty character. The age of the Malts used for the Blend is said to be between 11 and 20 years and averages 15 Y.

Mixed feeling about this Menagerie. As usual, Compass presents an acceptable mix that is pleasant enough at first sight and will certainly please newcomers to the world of whisky. Fruity, easy enough and a touch of Peat and Smoke. What more can you possibly want? Well, a bit more body and depth in my opinion. It's all a bit bland and on the Thin side. And quite expensive, even considering the 15 Year average age of this blended Malt. I can see why many people would like this Menagerie but personally I wouldn't buy a full bottle.

PS: When I smelled the empty glass after a couple of hours it strongly reminded me of Clynelish. I would not be surprised if that distillery was responsible for all or part of the Highland mix in the Menagerie.

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 25, 2022

Laphroaig

Caol Ila 35 Years (Diageo Special Release 2018)


”That’s Life” 

Whisky Review # 959

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Caol Ila 1982-2018 (Distilled: 1982 - Bottled: 16-08-2018)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottles: 3276 - Diageo Special Release 2018
Age: 35 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.1% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Refill American Hogsheads and European Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 1000-1200 (August 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ This can't be cheap of course
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‹ Delicious!

Colour:

Golden (Natural Color)

Nose:

Lovely! Mature Islay Malt is one of my favorite Whiskies. The Nose is a little on the shy side so you need to take your time with this Caol Ila. It's worth every minute though. The first thing I notice is that Peat and Smoke are quite fresh and crispy for a 35-year old Single Malt. The refill casks provide the correct amount of Wood. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures. The Nose is a balanced mix of Sweet, Sour, Coastal, Mineral and Dusty "Old" notes. The Sherry cask influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Toast with Salted Normandy Butter, Caramel, Grass & Straw, Shell Fish & Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Bonfire made with Driftwood, Tarred Ropes, Soot, Ashes, Brine, Wet Rocks and Sand, Wet Earth, Toasted Nuts, Dark Berries, Grapefruit, Melon, Bounty Bars, Green Apples, Charred Oak, Cuban Cigars, Olive Oil, Cinnamon, Ginger, Garam Marsala, Aniseed and Iron.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Burnt Heather, Honey, Wax, Chalk, Iodine, Gooseberry, Orange, Pine Needles, Nectarine, slightly Sour Plums, Dunnage Warehouse, Dusty Shelves with Old Books, Polished Leather, Banana Ice Cream, Licorice and Menthol.   


Palate:

Quite strong delivery. The Alcohol is there and Wood and Spices come to play their part. The mature yet crispy Peat and Smoke remain delicious. The Palate presents a rather Oily mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Coastal, Fruity, Spicy and Mineral notes. This is a perfect Winter Whisky to enjoy while enjoying the open fire or reading a book.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Grass & Straw, Green Apple, Banana, Dark Berries, Dried Fruit like Plums/Dates, Bounty Bars, Campfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Dark Chocolate, Toasted Nuts, Shellfish and Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon and Herbs, Wet Rocks & Sand, Pepper and Ginger. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Wax, Resin, Nectarine, Orange, Grapefruit, Hospital, Farm Yard, Cigars, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed, Menthol, Polished Leather and strong Espresso.


Finish:

Long. Sweet, Sour, Coastal and Spicy with a little Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is more noticeable now and so are Wood and Spices. I find Toasted and Malted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Burnt Heather, Wax, Grass and Straw, Bonfire Smoke, Wet Peat, Brine, Ashes, Soot, Dark Berries, Grapefruit, Melon, Green Apples, Bounty Bars, Toasted Almonds, Shellfish & Bacon on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Dusty Old Casks, Ripe Bananas, Polished Leather, Tobacco, Hospital, Compost, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Licorice, Menthol, Ginger, Aniseed and strong Espresso. Some Peach/Nectarine after a while. The Ashes stay in your mouth for quite some time.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that enhances Malt, Smoke and Peat on the Nose. The Palate becomes even more delicious and the Alcohol and Spices are toned down in the Finish. I would advise you to add a little Water.

Rating: 90.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 (********1/2)

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 23.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Excellent


Conclusion:

The Caol Ila Distillery was founded in 1846 and is located close to Port Askaig on Islay. It was bought by DCL in 1927 and through some mergers finally became part of Diageo. The distillery was rebuilt in 1974 and only one old Warehouse reminds us of former days. Traditionally, Caol Ila is an important component of Blends like Johnnie Walker, Bell's and White Horse. But during the last 15 years Diageo has made great efforts to position the Distillery as a Single Malt as well. Caol Ila is really beautifully located alongside the strait between the islands of Islay and Jura. The Core range includes the 12, 18 and 25 Years, the Distiller's Edition as well as the NAS Moch. We thoroughly enjoyed both our visits to the distillery in 2014 and 2017 respectively despite the fact that you're not allowed to take pictures. Caol Ila is certainly one of my favorite distilleries and Single Malts.

I haven't encountered the perfect Whisky as yet but this 35-year old Caol Ila is pretty damn good. It has a few little flaws like the shy Nose and the perhaps a little too high ABV and it 's not the best matured Caol Ila I've had so far (See here) but it's delicious enough to enter into my all-time Top 10 so far. If you have the bucks, you can't go wrong with this Islay Malt. 

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 18, 2022

Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)

”Shake Your Bothy”

Whisky Review # 958

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)
Distilled at: Lochranza Distillery, Arran
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.2% (Natural Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in American Oak Quarter casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 35-50 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘ Good
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Too much Wood and Alcohol for me to really enjoy it.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Nervous and quite Malty. Be sure to give it enough time in the glass before Nosing to avoid the initial wafts of Alcohol and Varnish. The Wood contact is very clear. There's (Dried) Fruit to be found but it smells slightly Artificial. The Nose is Medium-Sweet but also offers Sour and Salty notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains and Malt, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Sour Apple, Pineapple, Papaya, Melon, Grass and Straw, Earth, Wax, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Nuts, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Pear, Strawberry Yogurt, Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, Banana, Nectarine, Apricot, Orange, Glue, Dough, Varnish, Nail Polish Remover, Wet Rocks, Pepper, Nutmeg and a light hint of Polished Leather.


Palate:

Young and rather Harsh. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Fruit but even more Wood and Spices. Quite Dry. The ABV is too high in my opinion.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Mango, Bounty Bars, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Pear, Banana, Grapefruit, Papaya, Nectarine, Nougat, Slivovitz, Dried Herbs, Varnish, Rubber and Menthol.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Hot and Spicy. A few Sour notes. Increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. This should be better with Water. I find Toasted Grains and Nuts, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Dough, Grass, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Pear, Cassis, Slivovitz, Bounty Bars, Mustard, Charred Oak, Wax, Caffe Latte, Varnish, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that's almost a must in this case. Malt and Fruit develop in this way and it simply becomes easier to drink. Wood, Spices and Alcohol remain in control though.

Rating: 80 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7 (*******)

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

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. 

Conclusion:

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) opened a second distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran in 2019 that takes care of the peated expressions. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 18, 21 & 25 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Sherry Cask The Bodega, Barrel Reserve, Machrie Moore and The Bothy that I'm reviewing today. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit!

The Quarter Cask The Bothy was relaunched with a new look in the autumn of 2019 and added to the core range. Although it's a NAS Whisky it is said that it matured for seven years in 1st-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before receiving a 2-Year Finish in 125 Liter Quarter Casks made of American Oak.

This is not an easy Single Malt to drink. The high ABV and the intense Wood contact during maturation make this a hard ride. It's a pity really because there's a lot of Fruit out there but it's overpowered by Oak and Alcohol that are responsible for the increasing Bitterness toward the Finish. Future Bothys would benefit from a longer maturation in standard casks, a shorter Quarter Cask Finish and a lower ABV in my opinion. But that's just me of course. I bought a bottle of this in Germany and it will take me a while to finish it. Quite unusual for me ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ!

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2022