Category Archives: Speyside

Benromach 1998 20th anniversary bottling

Tasting: Benromach 1998 20th anniversary bottling

Benromach 1998 20th anniversary bottlingDram data:
Distillery: Benromach
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: 1998
Bottled: 2018
Age: 19-20 years
Limitation: 3000 bottles
Casks: 1st fill oak casks
Alcohol: 56,2%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

20 years ago, Gordon & Macphail brought back Benromach distillery and started distilling again. To commemorate this occasion, they bottled a 20th anniversary edition of 19-20 yo whiskies, made during the first year the distillery was back up and running. Just 3000 bottles are available (400 at the distillery) and should be hitting stores at the time of posting in spring 2018. Since the distillery sent over a sample for a tweet tasting it would be a shame not to do proper tasting notes. Let’s dive in!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 red-gold
The nose has a bit of an alcoholic kick at first. This will work nicely with a bit of water, but let’s stay with “neat” for a while! There’s the tiniest hint of signature Benromach smoke paired with pepper and citrus – and then the fruits appear – strawberries, strawberry-flavoured gummy bears (is there such a thing?), red apples and red pears, condensed apricot juice with flower petals on top (no FWP!). A nice balance between cask and spirit, not overdone on either side. Time to add a few drops of water! Ah! That worked wonders, unearthing a hint of earthiness and a hint of oak, balancing out the whisky. A rock-solid, well-made dram. Let’s check the palate!  Continue reading

Glen Grant 45 yo 1966-2012 by Gordon & MacPhail

Tasting: Glen Grant 45 yo 1966-2012 by Gordon & MacPhail

Glen Grant 45 yo 1966-2012 by Gordon & MacPhailDram data:
Distillery: Glen Grant
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Distilled: 1966
Bottled: 16.07.2012
Age: 45 years
Limitation: 1121 bottles
Casks: 4 refill US hogsheads, 1 first fill sherry butt
Alcohol: 40%
probably chill filtered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

First whisky review of the year 2018 – let’s make it count! I’ve tried a few fairly well-aged Glen Grants from G&M before, some “overdone”, some stellar. This one is made up of mostly American oak casks, which is a very promising sign!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 honey
Aaaaaah! The nose promises great things! That old-timey smell which nothing but good wood and long age can give a good distillate! We’re entering e beekeeper’s dusty wood workshop. Wax is in the air, mixed with barrel-aged honey stored in grandfather’s oak cupboard, a bouquet of summer flowers hanging upside down to dry. We also get a whiff of caramelised ginger, oranges, baked sweet apples with cinnamon and cloves. This is absolutely beautiful, light, yet sophisticated, the oak influence is there but in no way overbearing. Fingers crossed this profile holds up on the palate!  Continue reading

Miltonduff 10yo by Whisky Circle Pinzgau

Tasting: Miltonduff 10yo by Whisky Circle Pinzgau

Miltonduff 10yo by Whisky Circle PinzgauDram data:
Distillery: Miltonduff
Bottler: Whisky Circle Pinzgau
Distilled: 25.06.2007
Bottled: 06.09.2017
Age: 10 yo
Limitation: –
Casks: Hogshead #381
Alcohol: 56,5%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered

Oh boy, I’ve really let things slide a bit, it’s been a while since the last review. Let’s make it a special one then! Malt mate Rainer sent over a sample of a 10yo Miltonduff – bottled for the 10th anniversary of the Whisky Circle Pinzgau. Let’s dive in without further ado!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 ripe straw
The nose … oh, that’s a strange one – in a good way. An olfactory puzzle. Initially, there’s a waft of alcohol, not surprising at 10 years of age, followed by “green” notes. Errr… caramelised cucumber? Is there even such a thing? Cucumber water with a pinch of vanilla, freshly cut herbs, green apples, rhubarb and apple-rhubarb pie. Told you it’s a strange one! Adding a few drops of water releases a waft of coconut with a few fruits trailing behind – slightly sour grapes and gooseberries! Let’s check the palate!

Continue reading

Dufftown 1979-2010 "The Golden Cask"

Tasting: Dufftown 1979-2010 “The Golden Cask”

Dufftown 1979-2010 "The Golden Cask"Dram data:
Distillery: Dufftown
Bottler: The house of MacDuff
Distilled: 1979
Bottled: 2010
Age: ca. 31
Limitation: 395
Casks: Sherry Butt CM156
Alcohol: 51,5%
uncoloured / unchillfiltered
Whiskybase link

People save special whiskies for special occasions, but sometimes it’s drinking a special whisky on an ordinary day that makes for a special occasion. It’s not every day you get to drink a 1979 Dufftown (or any indie Dufftowns, for that matter…), so let’s see if this malt does indeed make this mundane evening special!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 mahogany
Big, bold, dry Oloroso sherry on the nose. Boom. That was to be expected, looking at the colour of the whisky. Huge sherry, European oak and, hello? Where’s the spirit character? Doesn’t really knock me off my socks initially, to be honest, but let’s dive deeper and give it some time! We’ve got liquorice, wood polish, an oak wood tray filled with herbs (including wormwood) and propolis sprinkled on top, distilled plums and cherries, with cherry stone bitterness. The distillate and alcohol give a quite noticeable, fresh, zesty top note. This does nose more like a 10 to 15-year-old whisky filled into very active Sherry casks rather than something from 1979. With a few drops of water, the lighter alcoholic and citrus notes gain influence. Let’s check the palate! Continue reading

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

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

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

Benriach 20 yo

Tasting: Benriach 20 yo

Benriach 20 yoDram data:
Distillery: Benriach
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2016
Age: 20
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 43%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

It’s been quite a while since I last had a Benriach, a distillery I’ve often had a bit of trouble with (with exceptions, such as the rather nice daily dram the 12 yo is). So let’s try this 20 year-old sipling!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 amber
The nose is very promising upon first contact, soft and mellow, yet rich, with an “aged” base and heavily sherried! Old banana, banana chips, vanilla sauce, sweet grapes, some pickled ginger, fresh figs, rum-soaked plums and juicy sultanas. The fruity component rests on a bed of slight cask smoke, a whiff of dunnage warehouse and spices – cloves and cinnamon come to mind. Rich, juicy, fruity and dark, without too much wood, just about right for a 20 yo dram.
Continue reading

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #24: Mortlach 1954 58yo by Gordon & MacPhail

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #24: Mortlach 1954 58yo by Gordon & MacPhail

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #24: Mortlach 1954 58yo by Gordon & MacPhailDram data:
Distillery: Mortlach
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Distilled: 27.01.1954
Bottled: 20.11.2012
Age: 58 years
Limitation: 347 bottles
Casks: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Alcohol: 43%
chillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Let’s review the oldest whisky in the house – 58-year-old Mortlach, to be exact… just because it’s Christmas!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 mahogany
The nose starts out surprisingly restrained. Not an over-oaked dram at all, as I initially feared. Delicate even, but what a nose! Lots going on in the glass! A myriad of warm, sweet, dried fruits. Seriously! An abundance of dried plums, cherries, figs and a sneaky date as well. But oh so mellow and as elegant as dried fruits can be! Of course we’ve also got spices. But mellowed, gentle spices, no harshness at all. Cloves, a cinnamon stick, bay leaves and allspice. And herbs. Wormwood, perhaps? But that’s not all, of course. The fruits and spices are accompanied by cherry-flavoured pipe tobacco with black cavendish, the leather jacket of an orchard worker, an bee-keeper’s oak cabinet and a slice of chocolate fruit cake. Dense, interwoven, layered, “aged” and still very elegant. What a nose! I really hope the palate will be the same! Continue reading

Glen Spey 2004 by Gordon & MacPhail

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #22: Glen Spey 2004 by Gordon & MacPhail CC collection

Glen Spey 2004 by Gordon & MacPhailDram data:
Distillery: Glen Spey
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Distilled: 2004
Bottled: 26.09.2013
Age: ca. 9 years
Limitation: –
Casks: Refill bourbon barrels
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Glen Spey. That’s the Diageo distillery producing one of the lead malts for their J&B blends. How does it work on its own as a young malt?

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 straw
The nose starts off on the light side – Vanilla, orange and a malty sweetness with some alcohol on top. Fruits? Well, maybe a cheeky pear and a red apple with waxed skin have somehow made it into the barrel. Quality distillate for sure and very nice, but just a tad generic? Like a beefed-up (ABV-wise) young Glenlivet or Glenmorangie from the supermarket. Well, let’s see what happens on the palate! Continue reading