Category Archives: Lowlands

Bladnoch 1992 26 yo by Cadenhead's

Tasting: Bladnoch 1992 26 yo by Cadenhead’s

Bladnoch 1992 26 yo by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Bladnoch
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1992
Bottled: Summer 2018
Age: 26 years
Limitation: 246 bottles
Casks: Bourbon Hogshead
Alcohol: 49,3%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Now that we’ve got a Cadenhead’s store in Austria again I can be a bit more timely with my tasting notes on some of their wares. So let’s take a look at their recent release of a 26-year-old Bladnoch, a distillery I’m usually quite fond of …

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 white wine
The nose is quite fresh, yet sophisticated. A good marriage of refill wood and spirit, so it seems. We’ve got citrus (with peel), apple and pear peel, a strawberry or two, a hint of fading summer flowers on a slate board, sweet grapes, old banana and a touch of icing sugar. Light and delicate but with lots of little things going on in there. Delightful!  Let’s check the palate! 

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Auchentoshan 1997 18 yo by Blackadder Raw Cask

Tasting: Auchentoshan 1997 18 yo by Blackadder Raw Cask

Auchentoshan 1997 18 yo by Blackadder Raw CaskDram data:
Distillery: Auchentoshan
Bottler: Blackadder
Distilled: 22.10.1997
Bottled: 29.10.2015
Age: 18 years
Limitation: 247 bottles
Casks: “single oak hogshead” 2909
Alcohol: 52,3%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

Ah yes – another one of these Raw Cask bottles where it’s best to have a fine-mesh strainer at hand, otherwise you’ll end up with a crunchy layer of charcoal in the glass. Also my second ever Auchentoshan review, a distillery I often struggle with when trying official bottlings. Let’s see how this indie bottling fares!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 oxidised copper
The nose has a prominent, yet light and very clean alcoholic top note that’s immediately noticeable. Beneath the layer of alcohol, there’s a whiff of citrus peel, with candyfloss, vanilla, dried coconut flakes, raw banana, burnt sugar and shortbread. Just a pinch of oriental spices is to be detected. Oh, and some wormwood. The oak may have imparted a lot of colour, but it has not taken over completely, enhancing the triple-distilled spirit just enough to add supporting flavour compounds and taking away the rough edges. Nosing an Auchentoshan that’s not been killed with too much cask influence is a delight – owing to the rather lovely and delicate new make, which I got to taste back in 2014. On to the palate!  Continue reading

Tasting: Eden Mill Burns Day 2017 2-yo spirit

Dram data:
Distillery: Eden Mill
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: 2015
Bottled: 2017
Age: 2 yo
Limitation: 500 20 cl bottles
Casks: US Virgin Oak
Alcohol: 43%
uncoloured
Whiskybase link

It’s always fun to taste spirit which can not yet be named whisky because it’s too young. This sample at hand comes from the young Eden Mill distillery in St. Andrews, which I visited in June 2017. I took a sample with me to assess in my usual tasting environment.

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 light gold
The nose is an obvious vanilla bomb, thanks to the quarter cask virgin oak casks being used. Custard cream and flambeed vanilla pudding meet fresh oak juice. Whoa, that’s intense at just 2 years of age. In the background you can still nose the fresh new make and only a slight metallic note, but the oak has really taken over already. Actually, I’m impressed how clean this noses at just 2 years. Also in the background is a caramel and malty note which I would at least in part attribute to the (for a Scotch) very unusual grain bill, including Crystal and Brown malt. There’s a herbal, spicy side to it as well – fresh juniper berries and allspice, I’d say. Actually, this reminds me of a vanilla-flavoured winter warmer tea with an added shot of alcohol. Quite a bit strange and unconventional, but they are in their experimentation phase right now!   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

Glasgow Distillery new make + 8-month-old spirit

Tasting: Glasgow Distillery new make + 8-month-old spirit

Glasgow Distillery new make + 8-month-old spiritEvery time a new distillery opens up, everyone wants to know, what it’s going to be like when it’s whisky. Stills are tuned to support the style the distillers want to achieve, mashing and fermentation are dialled in to support wanted and get rid of unwanted characteristics – as much as possible. And then, after distillation is complete, there’s the choice of which type of casks to fill. Decisions, decisions – and they all influence what the final products is going to be like – a product no one can predict with 100% certainty. I was given samples of both the new make and an 8-month-old spirit, matured in a virgin American standard barrel from the Glasgow Distillery at an event during the Spirit of Speyside festival last month, so let’s have a peek at where they’re at so far, shall we?

New Make – unpeated, 63.4% ABV

Colour: Crystal clear
The nose is, of course, quite a bit alcoholic, but not astringent. On the lighter side of the different new makes I’ve had so far – almost a bit floral (no FWP!), with red berries, wee bitter bramble seeds and cereal (wet oats) in the background. A hint of what remains after distillation as pot ale is to be detected, but that’s the job of the casks to get rid of, perfectly normal! Continue reading

Bladnoch 2001 11 yo lightly peated Sherry cask 280

24 drams till Christmas tasting #17: Bladnoch 2001 11 yo lightly peated Sherry cask 280

Bladnoch 2001 11 yo lightly peated Sherry cask 280Dram data:
Distillery: Bladnoch
Bottler: original bottling
Distilled: 16.11.2001
Bottled: 25.06.2013
Age: 11 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Sherry cask #280
Alcohol: 55%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: amber
The nose, although it is not a triple distilled whisky, is initially that of a typical, light, fruity, sherried Lowlander. Slightly alcoholic (no wonder at 55% ABV and 11 years of age), with a noticeable citrus note, diluted dark fruit puree, spices (allspice and cloves), dried orange peel, molasses and fruit bread. Getting darker and more interesting as time passes on. But, wait, what’s that?
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Kingsbarns Spirit Drink (New Make)

24 drams till Christmas tasting #7: Kingsbarns Spirit Drink (New Make)

Kingsbarns Spirit Drink (New Make)Dram data:
Distillery: Kingsbarns
Bottler: Original bottling
Distilled: 2015
Bottled: 29.07..2015
Age: 0 years
Limitation: –
Casks: no aging
Alcohol: 63,5%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Well, that’s a first for the blog! New-make spirit from the Kingsbarns distillery, owned by the Wemyss Malts company and opened in 2014. I’ve tasted many a new make before, so I feel very confident about doing this with proper notes for the first time. Since we’re already a week into the “24 drams until Christmas” series it’s probably a good idea to spice things up a little and take a look at what will be whisky in a few more years.

Tasting notes:
Colour:
crystal clear (anything else would be quite questionable, would it not?)
The nose is quite alcoholic, so you have to be careful not to burn your nostrils – no wonder, unaged and at filling strength of 63,5% ABV. Quite clean and fruity. Continue reading

McClelland's Lowland (Auchentoshan) NAS

24 drams till Christmas tasting #3: McClelland’s Lowland (Auchentoshan) NAS

McClelland's Lowland (Auchentoshan) NAS Dram data:
Distillery: undisclosed Auchentoshan
Bottler: Mc Clelland’s (Morrison Bowmore)
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2015-ish
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
E150a gold
The nose starts off slightly alcoholic, even at 40% ABV. Ah well, it’s a young malt, it is. The aroma is rather generic and a bit boring – vanilla, malt, caramel, dried oranges, custard, a hint of chocolate spices and yeast – rinse and repeat. No off notes (unless you count the alcohol which might only appear so strong because the aroma is rather weak). Very likeable and unobtrusive, just not very engaging, that’s all. Continue reading

Littlemill 24 yo 1990 by Cadenhead's

Tasting: Littlemill 24 yo 1990 – 2015 by Cadenhead’s

Littlemill 24 yo 1990 by Cadenhead'sDram data:
Distillery: Littlemill
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1990
Bottled: 2015
Age: 24 years
Limitation: 582 Bottles
Casks: Bourbon hogsheads
Alcohol: 53,7%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
light gold
The nose is prototypical Littlemill. Lots of fruit skins – apples, grapes, pears. Also notes of citrus, white peaches, apple juice, diluted grape juice, rhubarb, grapefruit, milled stone dust and a light sweet white wine note in the background. Continue reading

Tasting: Littlemill 1989 24y by Archives

Dram data:Littlemill 1989 Cask 42 by Archives
Distillery: Littlemill
Bottler: Archives
Distilled: 10.1989
Bottled: 02.2014
Age: 24 years
Limitation: 178 bottles
Price at the time of purchasing: – (sample)
Cask: Bourbon Hogshead #42
Alcohol: 53%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
pale gold.
The nose  is alive and kicking, it doesn’t seem like a 24-year-old dram at the first glance. Definitely not a first-fill cask, which emphasises the distillery’s character. A wee bit spirity, freshly mown grass, hay, clove, white pepper, real bourbon vanilla pods, hints of citrus, apples, malt and a slightly dusty note in the background. Continue reading