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

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

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Tasting: Classic of Islay cask #2725 (NAS)

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 “Tasting: Classic of Islay cask #2725 (NAS)”

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Tasting: Laphroaig Quarter Cask NAS

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 “Tasting: Laphroaig Quarter Cask NAS”

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Tasting: Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition / 2015

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 “Tasting: Kilchoman 100% Islay 5th edition / 2015”

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Tasting: Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail’s Collection

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: Bunnahabhain Peated 8 years MacPhail’s Collection”

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

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Tasting: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 8 yo

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 7 yo

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 7 yoDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 03.10.2007
Bottled: 21.01.2016
Age: 8 years
Limitation: –
Casks: French oak ex-cognac casks
Alcohol: 57,7%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
gold
The nose immediately met by a fragrant spicy-peaty mixture with a slight alcoholic note on top. Peaty bonfire smoke meets salted herrings, green apples, lemon and grapefruit peel, lemon and tangerine juice, with cinnamon, allspice and one clove on top. Quite fresh yet with loads going on thanks to the spicy French oak – and perhaps a hint of what was in the cask before… Continue reading “Tasting: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 8 yo”

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Tasting: Bruichladdich Laddie Eight

Bruichladdich Laddie Eight

Bruichladdich Laddie EightDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 10.03.2008
Bottled: 15.03.2016
Age: 8 years
Limitation: –
Casks: American and European oak
Alcohol: 50%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
white wine
The nose opens on the fresh, light, almost “springtime” side. Honest fresh, young 8-year-old whisky. An initial hit of alcohol after pouring the dram, but it mellows down quickly. Citrus peel, sherbet lemon, green and white apples, pears, green Kiwi (but not sour), sour apple drops with a pinch of salt. And then there’s something else – Freshly sprung herbs, possibly and hint of vanilla but there are traces of other spices not found in American oak – a whiff of cinnamon stick and allspice. Continue reading “Tasting: Bruichladdich Laddie Eight”

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Tasting: Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sample

Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sample

 Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sampleDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: official
Distilled: 2008
Bottled: sample drawn 2015
Age: 7-ish
Limitation: unavailable
Casks: virgin oak cask 1202
Alcohol: 64,4%%
unchillfiltered and natural colour

Tasting notes:
Colour:
dark amber
So Bruichladdich has done it again! The latest Octomore 7.4 “virgin oak” release is out. Well, all virgin oak? Nopedy nope! Only 25% of the liquid is actual full-time virgin oak matured. I haven’t got a sample of that one and a full bottle might exceed my budget, so let’s rummage through my sample cabinet – I think there might be something similar. Hey! What’s that? A 2008 virgin oak Octomore cask sample, drawn from the cask for the 2015 Feis Ile warehouse tasting with Jim McEwan. That’s the ticket! Uncut, unblended, let’s see what it’s like! On the nose there’s not that much peat. Well, that’s not surprising if you look at Bruichladdich’s stills, they produce a much lighter distillate than, say Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Still quite a lot of peat, but not overwhelming and that’s good! A slight alcoholic tingling, but you’d never guess this was 64% ABV! Very well-integrated! Fresh vanilla, vanilla pods, toasted cask, caramelised oak sap, Lapsang Souchong (unboilt), burning oak staves and a coal-fired steam engine squirting oil around, burnt toffee, heather, ginger, slightly toasted orange peel and a squirt of citrus providing a hint of distillery character. Continue reading “Tasting: Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sample”

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Tasting: Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’s

Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’s

Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’sDram data:
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1995
Bottled: 10.2015
Age: 20 years
Limitation: 564 bottles
Casks: Butt
Alcohol: 57.7%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
white wine
Seems like yesterday since I last tasted a refill-Butt 20-ish Caol Ila. I was very fond of the last one so there’s certainly no harm in trying another! The nose is… rather gentle and delicate, actually. Very little alcohol despite nearly 58% ABV with a light and delicate peat smoke – almost a Bowmore-ish flowery note (burning lavender and violets?). Slightly damp cotton candy, diluted honey, almost faded Italian orange blossoms, citrus juice with bits and peel, an oak board in a florist’s shop and highland honey so faint you’re wondering if the bees made it through the summer. Continue reading “Tasting: Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’s”

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