Inchmurrin 2003-2017, 14yo, 54.6%, cask 171-1, The Whisky Nerds

Last Friday I was at a whisky tasting at De Whiskykoning. In that line-up were the previous two Inchmurrins from The Whisky Nerds, and they were hugely popular. And while Rob tried to keep the arrival of the third one under wraps, I saw one of the Whisky Nerds (Bram) driving off after delivering a couple of boxes to the shop.

To indicate how ridiculously popular the three bottles were:

I saw practically everyone going home after the tasting with at least one of the Whisky Nerds bottlings. Some people bought all three, some bought the first two, and some bought any other combination of 1 or 2 bottles. I’ve been to a lot of whisky tastings over the years, but never have I seen such focus in purchases after it.

The theme for the Inchmurrins is ‘Trias Usquebaugh’, named after the trias politica on which most western governments are built. After Law and Order, the third one is named Executive. Contrary to people’s expectations of it being named ‘Special Victims Unit’.

2017-10-17 10.38.03

Sniff:
It’s a little bit sharper on the arrival than I expected, but it’s still a cask strength dram so not too surprising. There’s a lot of sherry in this bottling, with the bourbon being noticeable, but playing second fiddle. So, a lot of the dry sherry notes, but they’re supported by the yellow fruit notes from the bourbon cask. Slightly dusty with leather, old wood, and dried peaches and plums.

Sip:
The palate is sharp on the arrival, it can use a drop of water to slightly mellow it. It’s dry and peppery too, with the pepper being the red chili kind. Lots of dried fruits here, dates, peaches, plums. Some wet wood like in dunnage warehouses. Some syrupy orange notes later on.

Swallow:
The finish mellows quickly but stays rather rich. Slightly dry with lots of fruit, lots of flavors with some tropical fruits coming through here. Mango, pineapple.

2017-10-17 10.38.24

Bourbon, the mix, Sherry. A gradient of Inchmurrins.

While I was familiar with the concept of this whisky (keep something back from the Law and Order bottlings, and marry that for a couple of months before bottling that too), I was very curious to find out how this turned out.

And as it turns out, this does nicely hold some middle ground between the previous two Inchmurrins. There was more of the sherry cask involved in getting this ‘blend’ together, and that’s noticeable. The bourbon cask plays second fiddle, but has a very important role nonetheless.

In my presonal opinion, this whisky fills a different role to the other ones. The other ones go for a very (VERY) clear showcase of a bourbon and a sherry cask with the distillate being the same. This one is slightly less of a showcase whisky, and more a drinking whisky. It’s very solid, with a nice balance between the casks, and slightly less ‘opposing’ than the others. Slightly less of a ‘one trick pony’ doing the opposite thing than the other one.

Still, if you can still find them (maybe you can hire, the A-Team), I think you should get all three of them. Share them with a couple of friends and see where your preference lies. With ten people tasting them last Friday and not a single one disliking them, I think you’re good to go!

Inchmurrin 2003-2017, 14yo, 54.6%, cask 171-1, ‘Executive’, The Whisky Nerds. Available in various shops in The Netherlands

90/100

Thanks to The Whisky Nerds for supplying a sample!

Advertisements
Posted in Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two new releases from The Duchess

Since Best of Wines in Bussum, The Netherlands, has been bottling whisky, they’ve not released a lot. As far as I know there have been only three bottlings prior to these. Three are in their Shieldmaidens range, and one was a private cask from Glenrothes.

They set the bar very high for themselves, as they should. The shop has made name for itself by being a very luxurious one, selling top end wines to all over the world. Since they’ve been getting a foothold in the world of whisky, it only makes sense to continue along those lines there too.

Luckily, Nils van Rijn, a fellow club member and all round good guy is in charge of the whisky division. He has a great nose and palate, so selecting casks shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

A little while ago I got an envelope with their two newest samples in it, one rum and one whisky. I’ve tasted them, and thought to review them here as well. After all, that’s why they sent me those samples in the first place…

Glenrothes 1996, 20 years old, Cask:10/1996, 52.8%, Shieldmaiden Lagertha

13804_bigThe third Shieldmaiden bottling is a bourbon cask matured Glenrothes, a curiosity in its own right. Compared to the previous release, the Ardbeg (Shieldmaiden Malin) it’s a very affordable whisky, clocking in at 100 euros. In the current climate this is a very fair price for a 20 year old single cask.

The nose starts with quite a lot of alcohol, but is also warm and shows hints of freshly sawn oak. Quite warm, with straw and slightly bitter hints of pear peels. Fresh bread. All in all a rather light nose. The palate is much more spicy with lots of oak. Rather sharp and dry with fresh oak, apples, pears and straw. Baked apple too. The finish is fruity again, with apple juice, apple and soft pear. Some red fruits too, and rather long.

A nice and unorthodox Glenrothes, that’s very much worth a taste. I can imagine this being a surprising whisky to a lot of Glenrothes fanatics, but in a very good way. Quite an interesting dram, that can handle a drop of water.

87/100


Bellevue 1998, 19 years old, Cask 22, 54.9%, The Duchess

13974_bigApart from the Rum bottle share I don’t really drink a lot of rum. If anything, that bottle share sort of killed my apetite to sink some money into trying more. I know there’s good stuff out there, and I do find it an appealing concept. However, there’s so much randomness out there, that I don’t think I know enough about it to make an educated guess to what I like and dislike.

Luckily, sometimes you get a sample and get to try something new nonetheless.

On the nose, this Bellevue rum from Guadeloupe shows a lot of sweet alcohol, very different to the whisky described above. It’s rather sugary with lots of dark oak. Oak in the tropical way. Sugarwater, with a hint of glue (in a good way), but showing lots of spices. Clove is the one I am getting mostly. The palate is sharp and dry, with fresh hard wood, very different to the whisky again. Sawdust, dryness, sweet with clove, pepper and a lot of complexity. A slight chemical hint that is restraint enough to make it more interesting. The finish is very warming with charcoal and bonfire notes, hardwood, sweet barbecue and spices.

Well, luckily I got to try this indeed. This is a better rum than any in that bottle share and really shows how interesting it can be, as a category. A highly recommended drink if you’re looking to diversify and still have a very complex, cask strength drink at hand. Unless you don’t like spices that is. There’s a lot of that going on.

88/100


Concluding, I can say that they’re on a roll here. If they keep up this level of cask selection they’re going to be an important bottler and one to keep an eye on. Both the whisky and the rum are very good and very interesting. What’s not a given these days is that both the rum and whisky are also very attractively priced at 100 euros each.

Oh, and not unimportant, both are available at the time of writing.

Thanks to Best of Wines for the samples!

Posted in - Rum, Glenrothes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some goodies from Springbank

Springbank has long been one of my favorite (if not the favorite) distilleries in Scotland. I really liked them early on in my ‘whisky journey’, but especially since I visited the place in 2010 with my wife, I’ve been hooked.

Because of that it might not be too surprising that I generally try to get my hands on a lot of samples from this distillery, and I’ve been known to run quite some bottle shares with stuff from ‘the wee toon’.

FYI: Springbank Distillery is releasing their whiskies under three different brands:

  • Springbank: 2.5 times distilled, gently smoked single malt
  • Longrow: heavily smoked single malt
  • Hazelburn: triple distilled, non-smoked single malt

Hazelburn 13 years old, Oloroso cask matured, 47.1%

148578-big

Image fromWhiskybase

This official bottling starts quite heavy on the nose. Much heavier than I expected, honestly. Lots of sherry with notes of dried fruits and old leather. Plums, apricots, some wet barley mash. Quite rich. The palate is somewhat sweeter with more dried fruits. The flavors of mashed grains with fruit, oak, plums, peaches, leather and old wood. Some black pepper and charcoal as well (there is lot going on here). The finish is surprisingly dry and very much like Springbank (the ‘other’ kind of whisky). Leather, oak, some mustiness, but rich and dry.

This, honestly, is much, much better than I expected it to be. I did expect it to be good, but it’s actually very great. The slightly higher than normal ABV makes for a richer dram, but the slightly lighter than cask strength ABV makes this a very dangerously drinkable whisky. As you might imagine, the sample I kept for myself disappeared rather quickly.

87/100


Springbank 2006-2016, 9 years old, Refill Marsala Hogshead, 58.7%, Springbank Open Day 2016

129721-big

Image from Whiskybase

I was quite thrilled when I saw this one making the rounds, since one of the first Springbanks I really loved back in the day was the Marsala wood from a little over a decade ago.

The nose is very sharp with lots of alcohol. Hazelnuts come after, with a green and spirity background. Toasted bread with dry oak shavings. The palate is insanely sharp with lots of alcohol heat again. Very young and not a lot of wood to mellow that. Chili peppers, hazelnut, Brazil nut and maybe some almond. Not too sweet and getting richer after a while. The finish restarts the heat from the alcohol with lots of nuttiness. Some grain, oak and twigs. Not a very long finish.

Well, this certainly does not live up to my memory of the one that got me hooked. I’m not sure what the angle was when bottling this, because it’s far too sharp for me and it’s not a very mature whisky. Luckily there is some flavor to make this not a complete train wreck.

78/100


Springbank CV, 46%, bottled in 1997

60241-big

Image from Whiskybase

An oldie that I was able to get in auction. I heard a lot of good stuff about this whisky, and all about how I missed Springbank in the good days, when the newer CV bottlings came out some years ago. I bought this at around 150 euros, but currently they’re doing more than twice that, if Whiskybase is something to go by.

The nose is quite rich and sharper than I expected (it was the first dram of the day, admittedly). Lots of old, dry grains with the dried chaff notes as well. Porridge with a slightly buttery scent to it. In the background I’m getting some fruits. Apple, pear, grapes, kiwi maybe. The palate continues the dry and slightly sharp thing. It’s very consistent with mostly grain, oak and fruit notes. Apple, pear and grapes again. I’m thinking it’s more like dragonfruit than kiwi though. Straw, and a bit more sweetness than the nose had. The finish is rich and dry, with lots of oak and barley. The fruits gone by now.

Well, what to say. I expected a lot from this whisky and it didn’t completely deliver. I understand how this was the entry level twenty years ago, and it’s better than the current entry level CV, but it’s also not worth 150 euros. Let alone 330 or more.

87/100


Hazelburn 1997, 16 years old, Sherry cask 1004, 52.8%

21463377_10155422529156210_2363001169097118959_nThis last Hazelburn is from a private cask I was able to pick up through Facebook. There’s not a lot of information on the label about the cask or when it was bottled, but if this is not a sherry cask, I might just as well sell ALL my whisky and just drink lager for the rest of my life.

There is a lot of sherry on the nose. A different kind than the other Hazelburn though. This one is more meaty, more Mortlach-y, somehow. The texture is rather light, with lots of dry baking spices. With the whisky’s meatiness that goes more towards a good stew (or a ‘steak pie filling’ or something). Dried apricots too. The palate is very consistent with the nose with the beefy flavors being very interesting and not at all weird. Slightly sweet and woody, but with quite some heat from the alcohol. The finish mellows quickly and is slightly sweeter and more ‘normal’. Still there’s that beef and stew flavor with some sweet spices.

89/100

Posted in Hazelburn, Springbank | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A few bottlings from yonder years

Occasionally I get the chance to try some whiskies from a long time ago, back when I was wee. Sometimes I create these occasions for myself by buying a sample or a dusty bottle in a shop or an auction.

Of course, these are a bit of a gamble since it mostly is a standard bottling from a distillery that has been around for a while. There is a chance the whisky is going to be utterly boring because, for example, in the 1980 the trend was very light whisky. You never know!

What you do know is that it’s going to be different. Yeast strains have changed, barley varieties have changed. Probably some equipment in the process has been replaced in the last 25+ years. All things that influence the final spirit, even if some tour guides want you to believe it doesn’t matter at all.

Balblair 5 years old Single Malt, 1980s, 40% (750ml)

20170223_203553Upon opening the bottle I noticed a whiff of OBE (Old Bottle Effect) which makes it a bit heavier than expected. Lots of old grains on the nose with a crisp edge of fresh grass. Slightly waxy with a touch of pastry, salt and vanilla. The palate is a bit more intense with hints of ethanol. For a five years old is more mature on the palate than you’d think. Some oak, grain and spices. There’s vanilla and something crisp again and minerals. The finish is quite full with warm fruit and some caramel, chocolate milk (where does this come from all of a sudden?). Some grain, some oak.

This, honestly, is a surprisingly good whisky. I didn’t have (m)any expectations when I bought this but for the couple of tenners it set me back, I quite enjoyed it! Also, what this reminds me of is the new Wolfburn whisky. Some regional consistency right there!

87/100


Knockando 1976-1990, 40%, ‘By Justerini & Brooks’

74473-big

Image from Whiskybase

You know, Justerini & Brooks that abbreviates to J&B, that massive brand of blended whiskies.

Knockando is not a whisky I review often, and which I barely ever drink. Contrary to Balblair for the previous one. Somehow there’s not much output going to single malts, and even less to independent bottlers. But, honestly, the ones I have had weren’t that interesting.

On the nose it’s quite thin to begin with. Watery with light vanilla, some barley and a very light whiff of spices. After that I get a hint of leather, cocoa and something dusty. The palate is smooth but has a bit more bite than the nose. Barley, with husks, some oak and a bit of vanilla. Spices, in an old fashioned way, but not ‘old’. The finish is slightly drier and smooth. Grain, oak, some white pepper. Rather classical and rather long.

Well, even though it’s from 1976, which is a magical year for many whiskies, this one is just rather boring. More gimmicky than good, to try a twenty-seven year old bottle…

85/100


Longmorn 1976-1994, Scotch Malt Whisky Society (7.13), 17 years old, 59.1%

120264-big

Image from Whiskybase

Another 1976 whisky, from a distillery for which that year was a magical one. A lot of 1976 Longmorn is ridiculously good, but most of those are bottled fairly recently. This one is a LOT younger than that, since it was bottled 23 years ago. Surprisingly, if my guess means anything this comes from a bourbon barrel. Most of the single casks from that year are sherry casks.

I now realize that 1994 was 23 years ago and I am really getting old.

On the nose it’s very old fashioned with lots of oak and a very heavy spirit. Very sharp, with overripe fruits, grilled pineapple and the charcoal like scents of a bonfire. Dusty cocoa powder. The palate is very dry and very sharp, with lots of chocolate, dusty cocoa and tropical fruit. Pork crackling, dryness and alcohol heat. The finish continues the sharpness and shows oak, chocolate, bacon and fruit.

This is a belter. A showcase to why trying these oldies is ridiculously interesting, or at least can be. What a cracking dram!

90/100


Glenfiddich Pure Malt, 8 years old, 43%, bottled in the seventies

20170914_152742.jpgThis one is from the era in which printing the ABV of booze on the bottle was not mandatory. Luckily I have the tube and that one was made generic and does contain that information. Also, for some reason people in the United Kingdom thought it logical to note the contents as 26 2/3 fluid ounces. Because that’s easy for calculation, like all those imperial units.

Anyway, I picked up this bottle a few years ago at De Whiskykoning, and have been quietly enjoying it since.

On the nose it has a truck load of grains and quite some oak. More than you’d expect for an 8 year old. Quite feinty with a hint of rubber and leather (sneakers?). Slightly bitter with pear peels. The palate is sweet and rich, with barley, husks, oak and tree bark. Dry with hints of pepper, pear, pear peels and a slightly syrupy texture. The finish is a feinty and dry one, with lots of barley.

A very barley-forward whisky, that packs a lot more punch than the current 12 year old (although it’s been a while since I had it). Very, very enjoyable!

87/100


Dalwhinnie 15 years old, 43%, bottled in the mid-nineties

20170914_152721.jpgThe youngest one of the bunch, this one is one of the very first releases in 70cl bottles. The switch from 75cl to 70cl was made in 1993, if I’m not mistaken, so my guess is this is from 1994 or 1995. Anyway, quite an affordable single malt containing spirit that was distillery in 1980 or before. Sounds good to me!

This one is very light, and very crisp on the nose. To a level that you guess where they get the Winter’s Gold bottling’s idea from (don’t buy that, though, it’s not good). You know the scent of fresh snow? That. With light grains, straw and a bit of oak and sawdust. Minor baking spices later on. The palate is smooth and very dry. That crisp note is back too. Cold mountains streams, moss and rocks, grass, straw and oak. The finish is full with a hint of pepper towards the end. Oak and some spices.

It’s been years since I had the regular Balvenie 15, but I remember always liking it. I can see how, if this is what it tastes like. Rather different than most other entry level whiskies, and quite enjoyable. Luckily this was still priced rather friendly, which means I get to try surprises like this every once in a while. Very good, and much better than expected.

87/100

Posted in Balblair, Dalwhinnie, Glenfiddich, Knockando, Longmorn | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lagavulin 12, 43%, rotation 1978

Rotation 1978 means that it was bottled in that year. Which also means it was distilled in 1966 (and possibly before). So, we’re talking about a 1966 Lagavulin here.

Bottles like this come by in auction occasionally, but they always fetch upwards of a 1000 euros when they do. Of course this is way out of my league, but a whisky buddy that is also part of the Usquebaugh Society and whom I meet at tastings at Whiskyslijterij De Koning every now and then (MvB) was kind enough to give me a sample some years ago.

I always kept it around for a special occasion, but after a while I started realizing that drinking a 1966 Lagavulin is special enough and doesn’t need any extra flair…

lgvob-12yov20Sniff:
There’s a very definite smokiness and some sherry influence that’s very different to the current style. All of it feels a lot more oily, a lot richer and more full. It’s not too heavy though (which suits the average style of the 1970s fine). Some ash, leaves, sand and brine. Somehow I also got a whiff of peanut husks/peels. Old orange, Maggi, soy sauce and that kind of stuff.

Sip:
The palate moves away a bit and shows more dryness, more oak. It’s rather earthy and a touch of salinity. Again, the soup stock and seasonings, soy sauce. Also the typical (for Lagavulin) of dried orange slices with hints of sherry. Very rich, very very gorgeous.

Swallow:
The finish is slightly more salty and briny again. More sea like, more like being at the distillery. Oak, tarry ropes and old boats. Sand and slightly nutty.

I think I tried this dram two months ago (there’s quite the backlog of tasting notes…) and I doubt this whisky is going to be topped this year. It’s an insanely good whisky that shows why people are going ballistic for older bottlings of Islay whiskies. Of course, there’s older and there’s OLDER, like this one. Stunning, stunning whisky.

What I think is pretty awesome is that the slightly sherried and orangy character of current day Lagavulin 16 is also present in this one, but the changes in the process show very clearly. The biggest differences in oiliness, texture and sheer ‘weight’ are (as far as I know) contributable to changes in the distilling process (fermentation time, yeast strain, barley strain, distillation consistency and speed) and not necessarily to the casks used.

It is such a joy to be able to taste these things, even if it is just a once in a lifetime experience. Now let’s hope this doesn’t ruin other Lagavulin for me 😉

93/100

Lagavulin 12, rotation 1978 (1978/194), 43%, available at The Whisky Exchange for £1,400

Posted in Lagavulin | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

On collecting whisky

I am not an authority on whisky collecting. My ‘collection’ is barely worth the name since there is absolutely no theme, direction or focus to be found. In short, what I have is a random bunch of bottles that I bought and haven’t drunk yet.

However, my guess is that there are thousands of people like me that just buy a bottle when they are at a distillery, tasting or shop, even though their drinking shelf is full. Some of you might even purchase a bottle every now and then, knowing that you’re not going to open it for a while.

By going at it like that, I now have a page full of bottles that are looking for a new owner, even though I like, or expect to like the booze in them. There’s just too much ‘stuff’ and compared to what I own apart from those bottles, I no longer think I’m ever getting around to them.

Also, by now I wish they were money. As in, I don’t need a hundred bottles of whisky sitting there while I could also be using that money for a trip to Scotland, or something else entirely. Heck, even an extra mortgage payment…

That does not, however, mean that I would actually have the money had I not spent it on those bottles, since I have never been hard pressed to find something to spend cash on. There’s always something that peaks my interest.

So, with my dozen years of buying more whisky than I am drinking under my belt, I thought to write some things down so you might not fall for the same stuff I did.

Focus

Many people told me that if I was serious about building a whisky collection, I would have to focus on something. Some guys I know collect Springbank. Others collect Lagavulin or Jim Beam. They buy other stuff, but they only buy that stuff to drink it and open the bottle soon after purchasing.

When you want to collect something, in this case that means buying a bottle to not drink it, focus is a good thing. It means it narrows down what you’re spending your money on and it eliminates distraction. However, when I told myself a few years ago that I wanted to collect the entire series of Lagavulin 12, I forgot one tiny element of that intention.

20170828_171117

If you want to focus on actually collecting something, make sure you understand what that something costs. As in, the first few releases of Lagavulin 12 Cask Strength are only available in auctions and people spend 400 euros a pop on them. Since I wanted two of each (one to drink, one to keep) that would mean investing thousands of euros on just getting up to date.

So, focus is a good thing, but do some research before you get started!

Being spoiled

Also, what I’ve noticed in the last dozen years is that I have gotten spoiled. I try to not be some obnoxious snob about whisky, but I do realize that when I pour myself a dram at home, I go for the best available. Add to that that I’m part of two bottle share groups which generally results in even better whiskies making their rounds, I never get around to whisky that is ‘just good’.

What I mean is that, for example, I still very much enjoy Lagavulin 16 and Knob Creek Bourbon, I never drink those at home. At least, not when there’s also a sample of 21 year old Springbank waiting to be investigated, or a tail end of 1988 Blair Athol that needs finishing.

However, until recently that never stopped me from occasionally buying a Bunnahabhain 12, Talisker 10 or Springbank 10 “because they’re such a great whiskies”. They are good whiskies, but I’m never getting around to them since there’s always something else that I’d rather drink from my collection.

Waiting

This is the one that I still find very, very hard. When I want something, I want it now. On various blogs and websites this ‘instant gratification’ is described as a major issue in overspending habits, which I have to agree with.

20170828_171143Not a few times I bought stuff that would be available years later, while shortly after that not being able to buy something else that sold out instantly. A good example of that is the Laphroaig 15 that came out for their 200th anniversary in 2015. A great whisky, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not been until recently that it has started to become more rare and go up in price. I bought quite a few of these ‘for later’ and could easily have kept that money in my pocket for another year and a half.

Another example is the Lagavulin 8 that came out for their 200th anniversary last year. As with the Laphroaig I had already put a couple of these babies in my shopping cart on some random web shop, but somehow I decided to not go through with it. A few months later it was still available and I got to taste it. While it’s not a bad whisky, I found it not to be better than the similarly priced 16 year old, which I have half a bottle of. I think I saved myself 200 euros.

So, when you’re buying more than you’re drinking (especially when buying multiples) make sure to understand how limited something is. When it’s a single cask with 300 bottles all over Europe, you might want to go for it. However, when it’s a Highland Park Thor with 23000 bottles to go around, there was not really a need to rush.

Being inebriated…

This one is ridiculously obvious, but try to not buy stuff at festivals and after tastings. When you’ve had a good time and a couple of drinks, barriers drop and you quickly pull a credit card for stuff you would otherwise not buy…

Posted in - Opinion | Leave a comment

Just short of greatness

You know that feeling when you are tasting a very, very good whisky, but somehow it just doesn’t cross the magical 90-point threshold? You realize that you’re tasting whisky that’s way above average, but you can’t shake the feeling you should have spent the money elsewhere?

I know I am very, very spoiled in regards to whisky, but that also has made me very picky in what I want to spend my money on. In all honesty I think that’s a good thing, because it means I’m very inclined to try a whisky before buying it, and in the end I spend less money because of it.

While leafing through my notebook I found a couple of these that I reviewed in the last couple of months (there’s a mountain of tasting notes that have not yet appeared on the blog) and thought to get these out there.

Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 1990-2017, 27yo, The Whisky Agency, 48.1%

The first of these drams that fell just shy is an Irish single malt from 1990. Now I know I have a love-hate relation with these whiskeys since they can be absolutely stellar in some cases, but in most there’s this chemical, candy-like sweetness that I don’t love.

On the nose it’s sweet like winegums (yup, there it is) and a hint of wheat ale with some sweetened lemon. Rather intense and crisp, but the sweetness trumps it. The palate is surprisingly sharp at first. The sweetness is back here too, with that chemical edge. Candy drops, wheat with lemon. Rather light. The finish is gentle and long with the candy sweetness and wheat ale notes. The fruit is a bit more tropical like mango and papaya. Dried pineapple too.

So, the dried pineapple on the finish is great. The wheat ale (wit beer) notes are interesting but not great, but there’s enough to like here. Quite complex, while being held back by the chemical sweetness.

88/100

(Thanks to Teun for the sample!)


Dailuaine 1974-2005, Cask B111/2, Berry Brothers and Rudd, 46%

This one I got for a bottle share with some friends. It had been making the rounds on some Facebook groups and I got my eye on it a while ago. I have had some early seventies Dailuaines in the past (I remember the Adieu Lina very fondly) and wanted this one.

That it was bottled by Berry’s made it more of a sure thing, since that’s a cracking bottler.

On the nose it’s smooth but with some kind of beery scent to it. I guess that’s due to the malting, and it’s something I’ve found in some other old Dailuaines as well. Lots of malt, a hint of crispness of lemon and lots of old oak. The palate is very consistent with the nose. Lots of barley, lots of newly cut oak but also something that makes it feel old. Like a sawmill. Dried apple peels and tree bark. The finish is dry and soft, quite rich with lots of oak again. Long, with heaps of barley, bread and beer. Apple and pear peels.

So, how is this not an amazing whisky, you ask? It does everything that you’d expect from an old Dailuaine, but it just lacks a bit of depth. The ‘oldness’ is definitely present, and there’s fruit, oak and some hoppy spiciness. But, for true greatness I would have expected a little more depth and flavor. There is some fruit and some spice, but not much of either. And just wood and barley keeps it below 90 points.

89/100


Yamazaki Limited Edition 2017, 43%

(no image as some guys started complaining of my post nicking their image from WhiskyBase)

Last year I did a bottle share with the 2016 release from Yamazaki and that whisky was amaze-balls. I kept 10cl of the bottle for myself and have considered buying an entire bottle for myself. So, when this year’s edition came around I shared one again. Maybe I should have waited since prices in the secondary market have been dropping since I bought the bottle… Quite unexpected for a Japanese whisky.

The nose of this one is dry and rich, with lots of oak and caramel, treacle and golden syrup. Lots and lots of oak with sweet peach, apricot and banana. The palate then, it’s soft, sweet and ever so slightly bitter. Peach and apricot and other stone fruits. Caramel again, and some browned butter. Very syrupy. The finish is very consistent and warm, with fruits, golden syrup and lots of oak.

This is the least interesting of this post. I’m not sure how it can be so vastly different from last year’s edition. I think this is the most un-Japanese whisky from Japan I’ve ever had. The woodiness doesn’t have that sandalwood like scent and flavor that is so common in Japanese whisky. Quite a shame, because that puts it on a level with much, much cheaper blended malts from Scotland.

87/100

Posted in - Irish Whiskey, - Japanese Whisky, Dailuaine, Yamazaki | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment