Tasting: Kilchoman Single Sherry Cask 3009/2007

Dram data:kilchoman_2007_singlecask

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottler: Official bottling / exclusively for distillery shop
Distilled: 14.11.2007
Bottled: 24.05.2013
Age: 5 years
Limitation: 270 bottles
Price at the time of purchasing: ?
Cask: Single sherry cask #3009/2007
Alcohol: 59,1%
Unchillfiltered & natural color
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:

The dram has a deep, copper-gold color and features quite long legs. The nose is immediately met with a complex mixture of dark fruits and berries, toffee, lemon rinds, ripe peaches, well integrated smoke and faint hints of earth and floral notes. Continue reading “Tasting: Kilchoman Single Sherry Cask 3009/2007”

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Tasting: Edradour 10y

edradour_10Dram data:
Distillery: Edradour
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: – (bought 2014 – no bottle code)
Age: 10 years
Limitation: –
Price at the time of purchasing: – (Miniature)
Casks: some sherry in the mix
Alcohol: 40%
Chillfiltered, no added colouring
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
light gold. On the nose I initially get a mix of light vanilla-honey sweetness mixed with herbs. Continue reading “Tasting: Edradour 10y”

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Tasting: Highland Park 1985 / 28y Cadenhead

highland_park_CA_28Dram data:
Distillery: Highland Park
Bottler: Cadenhead
Distilled: 1985
Bottled: 2013
Age: 28 years
Limitation: 242
Price at the time of purchasing: – (official price: about 220€)
Casks: Bourbon Hogshead
Alcohol: 48,3%
Unchillfiltered, no added colouring
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Straw. On the nose I’m immediately greeted by a warm, sweet load of peat smoke. Continue reading “Tasting: Highland Park 1985 / 28y Cadenhead”

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How to choose which whiskies to buy?

A recent birthyear bottling to be treasured and opened at a special occasion

A recent tweet by triggered my curiosity and reminded me of a topic I wanted to write about since I started this blog. Her question was:

What is your main reason to buy / purchase a bottle of ?

My response condensed into the 140 characters allowed in a tweet was:

1) distillery (if it’s a fave of mine that’s a plus) 2) flavour 3) price … 999) marketing and branding

Well, that was a very short response after all, so let me elaborate on a few points: Continue reading “How to choose which whiskies to buy?”

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Tasting: Ardbeg Corryvreckan

ardbeg_corryvreckanDram data:

Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2009 (lot: L9 231)
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Price at the time of purchasing: 57€
Casks: french oak + ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 57,1%
Unchillfiltered & natural color
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The dram has a very nice amber/red-gold colour. On the nose I get an immediate hit of alcohol paired with the very typical, phenolic, punchy Ardbeg peat which people tend to either love or hate – I happen to like it very, very much. Continue reading “Tasting: Ardbeg Corryvreckan”

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Tasting: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC8

IMG_20140410_231319Dram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: 18.07.2001
Bottled: 27.07.2009
Age: 8 years
Limitation: 30.000
Price at the time of purchasing: 79€
Casks: American Oak?
Alcohol: 60,8%
Unchillfiltered, no added colouring
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The first sniff is very peat-smoky – no doubt about it, this is what many people associate with Islay whiskies. Continue reading “Tasting: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC8”

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Tasting: Glengoyne 21y

Glengoyne_21Dram data:

Distillery: Glengoyne
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 03.12.2012 (lot-nr)
Age: 21 years
Limitation: unknown
Price at the time of purchasing: 93€
Cask: 100% Ex-Oloroso according to the Whiskybase
Alcohol: 46%
Chill filtered? (doesn’t say) & natural color
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The rich, dark, uncoloured appearance of the dram screams of the casks, the distillery’s known for: Sherry, sherry and sherry. Continue reading “Tasting: Glengoyne 21y”

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Tasting: Strathisla 12

strathisla_12Dram data:

Distillery: Strathisla
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 24.09.2013 – code LGS1373
Age: 12 years
Limitation: –
Price at the time of purchasing: 32€
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
Most likely chillfiltered due to the strength / no colouring added (?)
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The colour is a reddish copper – I bought this in Germany so the addition of colourant should be noted (not to be found). The nose is fruity fresh (think summer fruit basket), I get fresh vanilla, lemon rind, lemon juice, orange oil, banana, fresh figs, hints of tropical fruits like mango and a slight maltiness. Continue reading “Tasting: Strathisla 12”

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Tasting: “The World of Whisk(e)ys” – 4 cheap discounter spirits

When I saw an advertisement for the assortment “The World of Whisk(e)s” at the local discounter chain Hofer (the Austrian version of the German Aldi), I was too intrigued (for research purposes) to pass on the offer: 4 x 4cl bottles of US, Canadian, Irish and Scottish Whisk(e)y for the price of 5,99€. They are all bottled at the minimum required strength of 40%, are all coloured (even the Bourbon…) and all bottled in Germany. Each and every bottle (except for the Irish) carries statements like “Famous for Quality”, “Finest handselected”, “Special reserve”. As they’re all bottom-shelf products, I find these statements a little hard to believe. But, to be fair, they’re not aimed at the discerning connoisseur anyway. I’ll try to give them my honest opinion anyway, as I do with every spirit I taste on this blog. Little fun fact: On the inside of the box there’s a picture of Strathisla distillery.

The World of Whisk(e)sThe four whisk(e)ys included are:

– Kentucky Highway, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 6 years
– Blackstone, Canadian Whisky, 8 years
– Old Flag, Blended Irish Whiskey, NAS (most likely 3 years + 1 day-ish)
– Old Keeper, Highland Blended Scotch, 8 years

Right, let’s get the tasting started:

Kentucky Highway 6yo

Nose: Bourbon indeed. An initial hit of alcohol and medicinal notes, then some sweet corn, and while I try to tell the other notes apart the nose fades away into a light, fruity, very typical nose with the alcohol making up for the most part.
Taste: Very watery and dilute, slightly bitter, with an aroma as faded as the nose – tastes like a regular Bourbon diluted 50:50 with clean spirit.
Finish: Initially quite punchy and full, some dry typical bourbon aromas mixed with hints of wood remain for a bit longer
Verdict: A typical bourbon, but presented for the non-bourbon drinker who might be just starting out. No overwhelming aromas, quite dilute (and difficult to tell apart) in flavour, but no off-flavours as well. Nothing to write home about and a bit lacking for the more experienced drinker.
Score: 55-ish

Blackstone 8yo

Nose: “Gone in 60 seconds” as well, but even more extreme. Just when I thought I got a bit of a nose after the initial alcohol hit there was… nothing except for a bit of alcohol. I can swirl the glass as hard as I want, it doesn’t get any better. Maybe some herbs, but that’s it. Zero, nada, niente. With a drop of water I get faint notes of herb liqueur.
Taste: Initially very mellow on the tongue, growing more aggressive after about 20 seconds with some antiseptic notes, more herbs, some oak(?)
Finish: Very smooth and pleasant, goes down like butter, more herbal notes remain for a bit but very faint like nose and taste.
Verdict: I can’t say anything bad about it – but not smelling or tasting much I can hardly say anything good about it either. This would have a hard time getting through if mixed into a cocktail or drunk on the rocks.
Score: 45-ish

Old Flag NAS (3yo?)

Nose: Not the most complex nose either, but better than both its predecessors, Lemon zests, faint vanilla, lots of grain sweetness, green apples, pears, ginger. Quite a lot of (3rd, 4th, 5th…) refill casks going on here I presume.
Taste: Quite harsh, biting on the tongue despite its only 40% ABV, some sweetness, some vanilla, grain bitterness, one-dimensional
Finish: A bit medicinal, still harsh and young, metallic, short
Verdict: The nose was quite fine but palate and especially finish say otherwise. My taste buds need a break before I get to the Scotch next.
Score: 35-ish

Old Keeper 8yo

Nose: 8 years old, they say? Must be quite some re-re-refill going on here, too. Some faint smoke (burnt rubber?), (sour) wine, some underlying sweetness of gummi bears and lots of typical grain notes as the base
Taste: Some sweetness, grapes, faint smoked vanilla, very one-dimensional
Finish: Gummi bears soaked with water, the faintest remnants of smoke and some sweetness remaining for a not unpleasant, medium-long finish, revealing cereal notes and faint oak as the sweetness passes
Verdict: I’m sorry, but that’s the weakest nose in any Scotch I’ve tasted so far, and I’ve tasted many (but, to be fair, I’ve got no previous experience with the bottom-shelf stuff so I’m lacking comparison exemplars). Palate and finish are better, but still far from great…
Score: 35-ish


Well, I wasn’t expecting much (and was ready to be surprised…) but my expectations were met. The best was the Bourbon – most likely profiting from the need for fresh barrels and I could see it being used for cocktails and for beginners. The rest was… uninspired with the Canadian exemplar being very weak/dilute in both smell and taste, the Irish being too young and spirity and the Scotch being once again very dilute. They all taste to me like a mixture of half a bottle of “good” whisk(e)y mixed half and half with neutral spirit. But maybe that’s what they’re supposed to taste like – very faint and easy to drink, never overwhelming or complex. There sure is a market for these drams – but in my opinion they’re not for the discerning whisk(e)y connoisseur. There might be some good bottom-shelf drams out there, three of the four from the ones tasted here are not amongst them. But, honestly, what do you expect for the money (taking the prices for a full bottle into account), after taxes and duties only cents remain for the product itself, shipping, bottling etc. – they’re not gonna waste the best and finest, especially in times of high demand and skyrocketing prices for the best of the best.

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Tasting: Macduff 1989/2007 GM

macduff1989gmDram data:

Distillery: Macduff
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice
Distilled: February 1989
Bottled: April 2007
Age: 18 years
Limitation: small batch
Price at the time of purchasing: 54€
Casks: Refill Sherry
Alcohol: 43%
Possibly Chillfiltered / no colouring added
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
The colour is straw indicating the refill sherry casks were probably (at least partly) third-fill or had seen quite a long first-fill maturation. Continue reading “Tasting: Macduff 1989/2007 GM”

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