Category Archives: Islay

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #21: Laphroaig 1998 17 yo by Cadenhead's

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #21: Laphroaig 1998 17 yo by Cadenhead’s

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #21: Laphroaig 1998 17 yo by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Laphroaig
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1998
Bottled: November 2015
Age: 17
Limitation: 192 bottles
Casks: bourbon hogshead
Alcohol: 56,2%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Indie Laphroaig seems to have become scarcer and scarcer these past years – especially older whiskies in their teens or above. Cadenhead’s to the rescue!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 pale white wine
The nose is typically Islay. Well-matured, refill-cask, heavily peated Islay whisky. Peat smoke, the usual phenolic kind with dirty bandages and iodine, soot, ash and well-used machine oil. Behind all that smoke, a salty sweetness creeps in – salted toffee on custard served on clamshells with lemon drizzled on top. Maybe a green apple is involved as well. The power of great refill casks, allowing the spirit to shine, just rounding out the edges. On to the palate:

Continue reading

Caol Ila 2005 11 yo by Gordon & MacPhail

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #13: Caol Ila 2005 11 yo by Gordon & MacPhail

Caol Ila 2005 11 yo by Gordon & MacPhailDram data:
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Distilled: 21.01.2005
Bottled: 20.07.2016
Age: 11 years
Limitation: –
Casks: 4 First-Fill Sherry Butts
Alcohol: 57,3%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Young Caol Ila. You can’t go wrong with intense, young Caol Ila, right? Let’s have a taste of this one, from Gordon&MacPhail’s Cask Strength Collection.

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 light gold
The nose is very intense on the first nasal contact! Intense, phenolic peat smoke with alcohol, vanilla and white pepper/horseradish sharpness! Whoa! But I like it! Exactly why we love young, heavily peated whisky! Let’s wait a few minutes… Ah ha! Ginger, peaty apple compote and something spicy… used mulled wine spices? To be honest, I would’ve guessed ex-bourbon maturation, but the leaflet says first-fill ex-Sherry butts. On the other hand… it could’ve been dry sherry, there is a dryness… With water: same general profile, but less alcohol! Let’s see what the palate has to offer!  Continue reading

Bruichladdich Octomore 10yo 2nd edition

24 drams till christmas 2016 #7: Bruichladdich Octomore 10yo 2nd edition

Bruichladdich Octomore 10yo 2nd editionDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 21.12.2005
Bottled: 31.10.2016
Age: 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Ex-bourbon, Grenache Blanc
Alcohol: 57,3%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

We’ve taken a look at the new 10yo Bruichladdich and the new Port Charlotte – now it’s time to taste the new 10 yo heavily peated Octomore!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 dark reddish gold
The nose starts off with… smoke, smoke, smoke, smoke and more smoke. Just as with the new 10 yo Port Charlotte it is a campfire-type, fragrant smoke, not the “usual” phenolic, iodine south-coast Islay smoke. Did I mention smoke? And soot! And wet smoke from a fire being extinguished with water. Give it a few minutes and – ah – oh, there’s more than just smoke now! A dense, layered sweetness – smoky marmalade and mixed fruits jam (including strawberry) – paired with fresh ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, a slice of lemon and a pinch of nutmeg. An almost perfect marriage of smoke, smoke and smoke with fruits, sweetness and spices. Very good indeed. Let’s see what the palate has to offer! Continue reading

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10yo 2nd edition

24 drams till christmas 2016 #5: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10yo 2nd edition

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10yo 2nd editionDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 30.08.2006
Bottled: 27.10.2016
Age: 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Ex-bourbon, sherry, Tempranillo, French wine
Alcohol: 50%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

After kicking off the “24 drams till christmas” series with the new and improved Laddie Ten, it’s about time to take a look at the new 10-year-old heavily peated Port Charlotte as well!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 reddish gold
The nose is… ah so familiar! The gentle side of the Islay peat monsters – if those peat monsters can be gentle, that is. A huge hit of peat smoke on first nosing, but more on the peat campfire side, rather than the phenolic south-coast Islay drams. But there’s much more than just peat and I like how this is not slaughtered by overly active casks. Lurking behind the peat we’ve got sweet dark fruits (the odd fig and plum come to mind), light vanilla, toffee, dry red wine, grape seeds, aniseed, cloves, one single mint leaf, caramel candy, a mineral note and a pinch of salt (wet stones on the shore, perhaps?). Lots and lots going on, a very tight mixture of very subtle notes. I’ve never tried the old PC 10, so no comparison to that, but it noses slightly different and more multi-faceted than some other editions I’ve tried. Less in-your-face, more lighter, subtle characteristics. Continue reading

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten 2nd edition

24 drams till christmas 2016 #1: Bruichladdich Laddie Ten 2nd edition

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten 2nd editionDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 26.07.2006
Bottled: 27.10.2016
Age: 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Ex-bourbon, sherry, French wine
Alcohol: 50%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

The “24 drams till Christmas” blog series is back – and so is Bruichladdich’s “Laddie 10”, after a two-year absence on the shelves due to a lack of stock. Is there any dram more fitting to kick off this year’s Christmas countdown?

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 honey gold
The nose is undeniably that of a laddie dram. Light in style yet sophisticated with immediate notes of citrus fruits, tinned tangerines, lychees and pomegranate. A light perfume note, too. Or is that chewing gum? Hubba bubba, perhaps. In the background we get grapes with skins, dry French red wine (I know it says so on the label, but it’s apparent), red berries (brambles, elderberries) with cream and a mixture of different oak spices. I don’t have an old bottle of laddie 10 open at the moment, but while it is recognizably a laddie dram, the French oak and wine cask influence are apparent, more apparent than my memory of previous batches before the temporary discontinuation. Continue reading

Classic of Islay cask #2725 (NAS)

Tasting: Classic of Islay cask #2725 (NAS)

Classic of Islay cask #2725 (NAS)Dram data:
Distillery: Undisclosed
Bottler: Jack Wieber’s Whisky World
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: #2725
Alcohol: 56,4%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

More budget whisky goodness – this time we’ve got an undisclosed, mystery distillery, single cask bottling from the Isle of Islay. This was sold for about 40€ in 2014 – let’s see if it fits the bang-for-the-money ticket!

Tasting notes:
Colour: amber
The nose is undeniably that of a young, fiery, rascal-ey, smoky Islay malt, you can’t deny the heritage. My mind immediately went “Lagavulin” as soon as I stuck my nose in – I would bet half an old fisherman’s boot on that – but we’ll never know for sure… Rich peat smoke, slightly medicinal, but not at Laphroaig levels, paired with an initial blast of black pepper, menthol, refreshment tissue, oily tweed jacket, some seaweed, sweet toffee, coffee dregs, walnuts and hazelnuts and a whiff of cracked shells on the beach. When I looked at the colour I hoped it would not be a dram slaughtered by a freshly rinsed sherry cask taking on an overly sweet profile – thank god it is not! This is a classy nose, I’m very impressed! Let’s hope the palate can deliver as well! Continue reading

Laphroaig Quarter Cask NAS

Tasting: Laphroaig Quarter Cask NAS

Laphroaig Quarter Cask NASDram data:
Distillery: Laphroaig
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Quarter Casks
Alcohol: 48%
Unchillfiltered; coloured
Whiskybase link

When I recently asked my twitter followers which kind of whisky they wanted to see reviewed most, the “daily drams” were pretty high up in favour. Well, in this review I’ll be introducing a whisky many of you will already be familiar with – but if you aren’t, and like peaty drams, you’ll be interested in this!

Tasting notes:
Colour: 
red-orange honey (coloured….)
The nose opens with a kick of peat smoke aromas in your face paired with sweet caramel and vanilla. The rather active quarter casks (smaller than a barrel) impart a lot of flavours in a comparatively short amount of time, making it a bit high on vanillin. The very active casks actually mellow the smoky aromas quite a bit – something you realise when you’ve tasted Laphroaig matured in refill casks, where the peat smoke can be much more medicinal. Nonetheless, we’ve got iodine bandages, burning hospital waste bins, a night around a damp peat fire, charred oak, a few spices (cloves and half a cinnamon stick), rich caramel, sticky toffee pudding with vanilla sauce (blasphemy!) and an earthy note underneath. Very rich and powerful with loads going on. Continue reading

Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition / 2015

Tasting: Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition / 2015

Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition / 2015Dram data:
Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 10.2009
Bottled: 06.05.2015
Age: 5 yo
Limitation: 10.000 bottles
Cask: ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 50%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: 
straw
A whisky made from 100% Islay ingredients. Barley grown on Islay, malted in Kilchoman’s own floor maltings, dried over Islay peat, distilled, matured and bottled on site. Well, bottle, cork and cardboard box are not from Islay, but everything else is. Let’s stick our nose in!
The nose opens with a whiff of alcohol, but you can already taste barley sweetness and (comparatively) light peat notes underneath. Let it breath for a minute or two. Now we get the gentle side of the peaty Islay drams. Sweet wort going into the fermenters with a splash of lemon on top, ginger, tangerine peel and canned tangerines, physalis, unobtrusive vanilla, a hint of honey, Werther’s Original sweets, a mineral, chalky note, and, of course, light peat. Nowhere near as loud as the south coast Islay drams or the Kilchoman whisky made from commercial peat, but still rather noticeable, it’s definitely an Islay dram. It seems to be a sweeter style of peat too, if such a thing even exists. Yum, this is exquisite! Young, but already very, very good! Continue reading

Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail's Collection

Tasting: Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail’s Collection

Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail's CollectionDram data:
Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Bottler: Gordon&MacPhail
Distilled: 2006
Bottled: 2015
Age: 8 years
Limitation: –
Casks: refill/first fill sherry hogsheads
Alcohol: 43%
chill filtered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: white wine
The nose opens with fragrant and well-integrated peat smoke. Not too phenolic – somewhere in between Bowmore and the south coast distilleries. Behind the layer of peat smoke we’ve got fresh oak vanilla sweetness, milk toffee, milk chocolate, brown shortbread which work in harmony with the peat influence. Supporting aromas in the background are a pinch of salt, crushed shells and the (positively) dirty aromas I often get in Bunnas – a hint of oil and earth. This is a surprisingly balanced, multi-faceted dram for 8 years! Continue reading

Tasting: Gems of Scotland Caol Ila 7 yo 2008 - 2016 cask 311050

Tasting: Gems of Scotland Caol Ila 7 yo 2008 – 2016 cask 311050

Tasting: Gems of Scotland Caol Ila 7 yo 2008 - 2016 cask 311050Dram data:
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Morrison & Mackay
Distilled: 05.06.2008
Bottled: 15.01.2016
Age: 7 years
Limitation: 414 bottles
Casks: Hogshead 311050
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured

Tasting notes:
Colour:
new make with a slight copper sheen
The nose is dominated by slightly mellowed-down heavily peated new make. In a good way! A pinch of alcohol with dried orange peel and fresh ginger, raw fire, still warm peaty ash, brown sugar and a spent old vanilla pod rubbed on a slate platter. The cask managed to take away the roughness of the new make and add just a smidgen of flavours – at least third-fill wood in my opinion. Continue reading