Best of Wines’ Blind Tasting Competition #3

The penultimate post on Best of Wines’ BTC, with another batch of three interesting drams. Interestingly, there was another on in here I should have recognized, and another that I have in my collection but haven’t gotten around to yet.

That last one got a lot of positive reviews when it came out, and I was anticipating with some level of hype. However, the way tasting whisky blind can sometimes open your eyes to something disregarded, it can also allow you to try some stuff that you’re not as thrilled with as you’d hoped or thought.

Anyway, here we go!

Ben Nevis 10, 2010-2020, Shiraz Cask 1800020, 56.7% – The Duchess

Image from Whiskybase

Engine fumes, with a whiff of grease and diesel. Some brine too. All combines with smoke, of course. Some vanilla and some pastry sweetness too.

A bit more charcoal than there was on the nose, but otherwise there’s still that greasy note. There’s diesel, a bit of a creamy texture and defnitely some smoke. Some pear, some butter, quite some vanilla. Apple crumble, maybe, with custard. It takes a while for the alcohol to kick in.

The finish is a bit more dry, and shows more notes of oak. Strangely, the spirit gets through a bit more and that shows a bit of some cleaning product that I can’t put my finger on.

Caol Ila from the get go. Of course, I was wrong, but this shouted Caol Ila at me. The engine fumes and such always send me in that direction. Interestingly, knowing what it is now I find this one much more smoky than it was when I poured it from the bottle a while ago.

The initial review can be found here.


It’s available here, for € 100

Littlemill 28, 1990-2019, Hogshead 103514, 53.8% – Chieftain’s

Image from Whiskybase

Rather sweet with some strange cask notes. It could be sherry, but a very sweet bourbon cask or a rum cask is also not impossible. Molasse and some candied fruit. Sweetened orange, with some overly sweetened dough as well. It’s all rather sweet. A creamy note as well, almost like a Bladnoch.

There is a bit of heat happening, with a hint of chili pepper, even though it’s still creamy. Creamy vanilla custard, but also something slightly funky. The heat keeps building, albeit slowly. Apple sauce, soft pear, all rather sweet. Still a hint of molasses too. I no longer think it’s a sherry cask. Some dried tropical fruits like pineapple and papaya.

Somehow, it gets more sweet and more funky. Dried pineapple, apple and vanilla custard. All very sweet, but there’s interesting flavors.

JP and I tasted this and while it sent us to the Lowlands based on the character of the whisky, we thought it would be Bladnoch. Mostly because of the yeasty, creamy flavors that we found.

Littlemill is one of those distilleries that has gotten hugely popular since it’s been closed. And while I’ve had some great examples, in general it’s not a character or style I’ll get out of bed for. Still, this is a pretty decent one, although at € 600, I’m skipping it. I would also skip it at € 200.


It’s available here.

Glen Scotia 11, 2010-2021, Heavy Charred Finish, 56.8% – OB for The Netherlands

Image from Whiskybase

Lots of virgin oak and spirit, combined. It suggests a young whisky from a very fresh cask. So there definitely is oak, and a greenness from the spirit. Some ferns, but also a hint of red fruits. Brown sugar, and some cherry.

There’s a belyingly gentle arrival, but soon after you think ‘this isn’t too strong’ there’s a massive alcohol burn that pops up. Of course, it’s the first dram, so that’s a factor. It’s very dry with a lot of rather nondescript oak. Some sherry-like dark fruits, but without the spices and the sweetness. Mostly oak, some foresty notes, and peppery alcohol.

The dryness lingers very long, and it also doesn’t mellow that quickly. It leaves a feeling like you’ve burnt your mouth. Oak, some minor fruity notes.

With the oak being so incredibly pronounced, with those rather roasted flavors, I figured it was one of those 6 or 7 year old Aultmores, or Glentauchers. They often taste like this, and it’s not something I really enjoy. Unfortunately, this is that bottle that I still have to taste, although it can be quite different when poured from a largely empty bottle (due to sharing) and with some time to mellow. In the line-up JP and I had, we didn’t thoroughly like this one.


It’s still available here.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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