Category Archives: Tasting Notes

Caperdonich 1977 39 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary

Tasting: Caperdonich 1977 39 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary

Caperdonich 1977 39 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversaryDram data:
Distillery: Caperdonich
Bottler: Cadenhead
Distilled: 1977
Bottled: 2017
Age: 39 yo
Limitation: 462 bottles
Casks: Butt
Alcohol: 50,4%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

This is the last one in the trilogy of whiskies distilled in the 1970s at now “lost distilleries”, bottled for the 175th anniversary of the independent bottler Cadenhead’s. Unlike the Convalmore, I’ve got a slightly bigger sample, so let’s give it a thorough taste!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 mahogany
This is the most heavily sherried whisky of this release! The nose is immediately filled with deep, dark, bold aromas. Oak floorboard polished with wax (but not too oaky!), liquorice, cherry and plum syrup, herbal Swiss cough drops rubbed in allspice and forgotten for a few years in a rusty tin box. In fact, can I please call this a fruity cough syrup for grown ups? In a good way, of course! Not much sweetness going on, which is good, but the cask is definitely strong and not much distillery character remains – which is to be expected from a sherry monster of such a calibre. Still a very good balance between oak and fruit, this has not yet gone overboard! Let’s check the palate!  Continue reading

Ledaig 10 yo

Tasting: Ledaig 10 yo

Ledaig 10 yoDram data:
Distillery: Tobermory
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2015
Age: 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 46,2%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

I’ve reviewed quite a lot of “special” whiskies lately – it’s time to look at the “daily dram” category again. This one fits the bill nicely, affordable, and presented the way we like it (no chill filtration, no fake colour). Oh, and it’s been called “the new Ardbeg” by some. Let’s verify that claim!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 green barley
The nose is just how I like a relatively young, heavily peated dram to be! Peat bonfire smoke (is that even a thing?) up front, like a South coast Islay, with phenols, dirty oil rags and a hint of iodine. Well, no wonder, since the malt is supplied from the Port Ellen maltings on Islay. It is, however, not only just smoke and a whole lot of nothing – there’s more going on! Fresh ginger, pepper and eucalyptus provide a welcome punch, after which sweeter notes start to appear. There are hints of fudge, vanilla, sugar-coated shortbread and a touch of flowering herbs. Vibrant, kicking, young, yet with a good balance, I can see why people compare it to Ardbeg 10. Continue reading

G.Rozelieures Rare Collection NAS French Whisky

Tasting: G.Rozelieures Rare Collection NAS French Whisky

G.Rozelieures Rare Collection NAS French WhiskyDram data:
Distillery: G.Rozelieures
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: –
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Ex-Sauternes
Alcohol: 40%
unknown chill filtration / colouring
Whiskybase link

France is the biggest importer of Scotch whisky in Europe – but as a whisky-producing country it’s relatively unknown, except to insiders. I certainly have never heard of the G Rozelieures products from the Lorraine region before, until blogging colleague Franck from lecavedecobalt.com asked me whether I wanted to try their wares. Oh yes, I don’t mind if I do! Peated French whisky, distilled from self-grown, local barley and double-distilled in traditional French “Cognac style” stills, that does sound interesting!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 orange gold
The nose is definitely smoky, no doubt about that! I would call it cold bonfire smoke, rather than your typical Scottish peat, but that might just be due to the type of peat being used – and the strong wine-cask influence trailing the peat! Smoky, sweet grapes, slightly bitter grape seeds and hulls, gooseberries, mirabelles, light, fresh kitchen herbs, a touch of cracked pepper, orange peel and a hint of soap. Interestingly enough, this reminds me strongly of the Lost Spirits Bohemian Bonfire – which was also matured in French casks. Quite interesting and fresh, definitely not your typical whisky by any stretch of the imagination! Very hard to score, but I do see it slightly above average compared to my average benchmark whiskies. Continue reading

Convalmore 1977 40 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary

Tasting: Convalmore 1977 40 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary

Convalmore 1977 40 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversaryDram data:
Distillery: Convalmore
Bottler: Cadenhead
Distilled: 1977
Bottled: 2017
Age: 40 yo
Limitation: 522 bottles
Casks: Butt
Alcohol: 56,8%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Another whisky in the stunning lineup to celebrate Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary! I only have a very small sample left, so I’ll make the best of it to get my first tasting notes for a Convalmore up!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 gold
The nose is still surprisingly vibrant and alive for a 40 yo whisky! Definitely not an overoaked, dead dram (hey, I’ve seen it happen, they usually come in crystal decanters and expensive lacquered boxes!)! A massive waft of orange peel up front, mixed with gooseberries, apricots, mangos, sweet grapes, pickled ginger – let’s call it a seasonal (summery) fruit basket. But there’s more to it! A few mint leaves rubbed onto a lacquered oak box (ahem) held together by a leather belt, a cinnamon stick and a pinch of ground allspice. Noses more like a 25 yo whisky at first, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, does it? Give it time and time and time again, and it settles down, with the fruity notes getting darker / more condensed. Continue reading

Westland single malt cask 397 for LMDW

Tasting: Westland single malt cask 397 for LMDW

Westland single malt cask 397 for LMDWDram data:
Distillery: Westland
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: Summer 2016
Age: NAS
Limitation: 232 bottles
Casks: #397
Alcohol: 54,4%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

It’s the 4th of July – Independence day in the US. Why not taste something different then? Like a single cask American single malt? Sounds good? Let’s go!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 light maple syrup
The nose is quite different from your usual American whiskey – no wonder, it’s all malted barley. Quite a whiff of alcohol (with menthol) at the beginning. When it does fade a bit (it never goes away completely), the nose is met with loads of oak cask goodness – caramel, liquorice and maple syrup. A sneaky chunk of toffee has also found its way into the glass. There’s more lurking in the background behind the bold, big flavours. A whiff of cask smoke, fresh ginger and herbal cough syrup. Very oak-forward and only the freshness and alcoholic kick remain from the distillate, but every bit as enjoyable (if not more) as a high-quality bourbon of a similar, young age. With water, an additional component emerges – fresh, sweet flower petals! Interesting!   Continue reading

Jura 1986 30 yo by Cadenhead's

Tasting: Jura 1986 30 yo by Cadenhead’s

Jura 1986 30 yo by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Jura
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1986
Bottled: 2016
Age: 30 years
Limitation: 66 bottles
Casks: Bourbon Barrel
Alcohol: 42,5%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

That sample took a while to reach me! It went from Salzburg to Vienna, was forgotten and finally found its way into my hands at its bottling place, Campbeltown, this May, only for me to bring it back to Austria to finally taste it. Apparently, it’s a very good Jura (which you can’t say of all whiskies by this distillery), so I’m very much looking forward to giving it a go!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 gold
The nose is rather promising. Rich and properly aged with quite a noticeable oak influence, but not too much. We’ve got an oak storage cupboard with a slight layer of waxy varnish and quite a few kinds of fruit – dried bananas, dried peaches, dried pineapple, tinned lychees, sweet red apples, rhubarb some pickled ginger. Add to that a hint of orange peel, honey and a box of tutti frutti. This is unlike most Juras I’ve tasted – the spirit has been taken over by the cask in a very advantageous way. Continue reading

Bladnoch Samsara NAS limited release

Tasting: Bladnoch Samsara NAS limited release

Bladnoch Samsara NAS limited releaseDram data:
Distillery: Bladnoch
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: – (2009 or before)
Bottled: 25.04.2017
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Californian red wine and bourbon casks
Alcohol: 46,7%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

During the last 2 decades, the future of the lowlands Bladnoch distillery in Wigtown looked very grim – twice. Once before it was purchased by Irishman Raymond Armstrong and family (who initially wanted to turn it into housing) and for the second time when it went into receivership a few years back. It looked like it was gone for good – but then Australian yoghurt entrepreneur David Prior purchased the place – and is now essentially gutting the interiors, building a new distillery in the old buildings, to be restarted soon. To bide them over until they can sell their own spirit, they are tapping into the old stocks maturing at the distillery, made by either of the previous owners. This NAS “Samsara” expression is made up of stock distilled during the Armstrong era, making it at least 8 or 9 years old, as the distillery hasn’t produced anything since 2009. I quite liked expressions created during the Armstrong ownership, so I’m curious to find out what the new owners have created from the old stock!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red gold
The nose is Bladnoch-y with a twist. It starts off fresh, with citrus, bananas, red and green apples showing off the spirit style. But there’s more, the influence of the red wine casks is very apparent. Bitter grape peel, slightly acidic dry wine, wine gums, an old banana, green grass, sweat and spices – cinnamon and cloves. Hmmm. Hmmmm…. Wine maturation of whisky can go many ways, and while the wine casks don’t overpower the distillery character, I’ve always found Bladnoch to work best in plain ex-bourbon casks or sometimes the odd sherry butt (the ones with quite a bit of sherry oomph). This feels like a whisky of two hearts, with the different flavour profiles almost fighting each other. Not bad, and there might be a few people who see themselves drawn to that style, but it doesn’t really do it for me. Continue reading

Banff 1976 40 yo - Cadenhead's 175th anniversary

Tasting: Banff 1976 40 yo – Cadenhead’s 175th anniversary

Banff 1976 40 yo - Cadenhead's 175th anniversaryDram data:
Distillery: Banff
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1976
Bottled: 2017
Age: 40
Limitation: 192 bottles
Casks: ex-bourbon hogshead
Alcohol: 51,2%
unchillfiltered / uncoloured
Whiskybase link

This 40 yo Banff, distilled in 1976, was part of the 175th anniversary bottling by the independend bottler Cadenhead’s, and we got the chance to try it during the matching tasting with Mark Watt during the Campbeltown whisky festival 2017. I liked what I tasted (I had it at a tie with the Rosebank), so I brought most of the sample home for a proper tasting session. Let’s do this!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 coppery gold
The nose is anything but weak – still going strong after 40 years in a hoggie! What did they do differently in the 70s? Many drams from that era (even ones bottled at a relatively young age) have such a rich, fruity, waxy palate that has rarely been produced since. We’ve got orange peel, waxed red apples, tinned peaches and tangerines, brown banana, banana bread, strawberries in milk chocolate. In short: a complex, rich summer fruit salad served on sweet bread. (Please, hipsters, don’t make that a thing!). Oak, you ask? Well… just a smidgen of oak influence and a light generic herbal note holding everything together in the background, but this is mostly distillate and age talking here. With extended time in the glass, the herbal notes intensify a bit.

Continue reading

Sandy Macdonald Special Scotch Whisky Blend 1950s - Glendullan

Tasting: Sandy Macdonald Special Scotch Whisky Blend 1950s – Glendullan

Sandy Macdonald Special Scotch Whisky Blend 1950s - GlendullanDram data:
Distillery: Blend with Glendullan
Bottler: Sandy Macdonald
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 1950s
Age: –
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40% (70 UK proof)
unknown filtering/colouring
Whiskybase link

Preparing for my 2017 Scotland whisky trip, I think this old oddball whisky will be just what the doctor ordered. It’s a ca. 1950s bottling, with a spring cap. There’s not much info on the (original, not the pictured sample) bottle, but after some research it seems to be a blended whisky, which highlights Glendullan as the “pure malt distillery”. Is it the only malt whisky in the mix? I have no idea, but it might just be – other bottlings from the same era feature several distillery names on the label. Let’s nose and taste it and see if it’s as interesting and intriguing as it looks!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red gold
The nose is quite peculiar. A slightly alcoholic tingle up front with a hint of menthol. Light and fresh – very well-preserved! There are notes of lemon zest, orange oil, lychee, melissa, white peaches on a light backbone of honey, toffee and a hint of machine shop with oil and a sooty chimney. After many minutes in the glass, a cognac-like note emerges in the background.  Continue reading

Glenlivet 1974 33 years GM

Tasting: Glenlivet 33 yo 1974-2008 by Gordon & MacPhail

Glenlivet 1974 33 years GMDram data:
Distillery: Glenlivet
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Distilled: 1974
Bottled: 18.02.2008
Age: 33
Limitation: 726 bottles
Casks: 3 sherry hogsheads
Alcohol: 43%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

I know posts have been far and few between lately – I’m very busy at the moment juggling different tasks, so please bear with me. Since it’s been a while, let’s make this tasting count. Glenlivet from 12 years before I was born? Don’t mind if I do!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red amber
The nose immediately brings a smile on my face. Proper, aged whisky. I’m repeating myself here, there are many truly excellent young whiskies, but there is absolutely no substitute for time. You cannot produce this style of whisky in 5, 10, 15, 20 years, no matter what the marketing guys want you to believe. Older whisky doesn’t mean better, but when it’s right, it’s right! Oh, sorry, I digressed a little. On the nose then… we’ve got a fragrant mix of spices up front. We’re talking mulled wine spices. Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, that sort of thing, but not fresh and sharp, but on their second infusion. The spices are paired with quite a bit of oak wood concentrate, just bordering on too much (I hope this won’t show up too harsh on the palate) and loads of dark, dried fruit notes in the background (rum-infused plums, predominately). Also in the background are notes of Demerara sugar, chocolate cake, slightly burnt toffee, toasted walnuts and sweet vanilla pipe tobacco. All in all a very nice combination of intense, thick aromas.  Continue reading