Category Archives: Speyside

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

The Macallan Edition No.2 NAS

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #11: The Macallan Edition No.2 NAS

The Macallan Edition No.2 NASDram data:
Distillery: Macallan
Bottler: Official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2016
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: 7 different types
Alcohol: 48,2%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

The Macallan, probably one of the most widely recognised luxury whisky brands in the world, released their 2nd “edition” whisky, this time made up of no less than seven different cask types. It would be rude not to give it a proper review after being given a blind sample for a competition amongst malt mates!

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 amber
The nose opens with dense, heavily sherried, aged aromas. You could bury your nose in there for a long time. Let me rephrase that – you CAN! The European oak spices dominate, paired with mixed sherry impressions. Cinnamon, star anise and a pinch of nutmeg rubbed on a new leather jacket lying on a boardroom with old oak flooring. Raisins, caramelised ginger, dark chocolate too.
Very interesting and dense – but after close to a quarter of an hour in the glass and having taken a sip something happens: The nose gets much lighter, less “dark” and intense. Most whiskies improve with time in the glass, this one, strangely, seems to lose. A LOT! This happened to me on the first, blind tasting and now upon retasting as well. Let’s see what the palate has in store! Continue reading

Glen Keith 1992 21 years by Archives

24 drams till Christmas 2016 #9: Glen Keith 1992 21 years by Archives

Glen Keith 1992 21 years by ArchivesDram data:
Distillery: Glen Keith
Bottler: Archives
Distilled: 10.1992
Bottled: 03.2014
Age: 21 years
Limitation: 218 bottles
Casks: Bourbon Barrel 120599
Alcohol: 51,5%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Another “first” for the blog – I can hardly believe I’ve never officially tasted a Glen Keith before?

Tasting notes:
Colour:
 light gold
The nose opens on the sweet and fruity side, but with a lightness to it at the same time! Sweet oranges, a hint of wax, sweet fruits (grapes, apricots, mangos) and light vanilla dominate the initial impression. We’ve got an ex-bourbon fruit bomb here! As time passes, the aromas get more complex and richer, the fruits get darker, with an almost jammy/syrupy aspect to them. Let’s see what the palate has in store! Continue reading

Strathisla 2005-2015 by Gordon & MacPhail

24 drams till christmas 2016 #2: Strathisla 2005-2015 by Gordon & MacPhail

Strathisla 2005-2015 by Gordon & MacPhailDram data:
Distillery: Strathisla
Bottler: Gordon & Macphail
Distilled: 2005
Bottled: 16.12.2015
Age: ca. 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: first fill sherry hogsheads
Alcohol: 43%
chill filtered(?) and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

That’s only the second Strathisla I’ve reviewed for the blog – let’s see if this independently bottled 10 yo from Gordon & MacPhail’s “distillery labels” series has an edge over the official 12 yo!

Tasting notes:
Colour: dark straw (exactly what it says on the leaflet.. I didn’t cheat, I swear!)
The nose starts off a wee bit shy and on the sweet side. First fill sherry hoggies? I wouldn’t have guessed that from the first nose. Well, all right, dry, light sherry, perhaps, because that’s what the nose says after a while. American oak, too. Vanilla, custard, faint traces of dry sherry, green apples and pears, apple peel, rhubarb and donut glazing with a splash of citrus in it. Faint traces of oak. Well… light and nice enough but not the “usual” heavily sherried style of Strathisla. On to the palate! now! Continue reading

Inchgower 2002 - 2016 by G&M Connoisseur's Choice

Tasting: Inchgower 2002 – 2016 by G&M Connoisseur’s Choice

Inchgower 2002 - 2016 by G&M Connoisseur's ChoiceDram data:
Distillery: Inchgower
Bottler: Gordon & Macphail
Distilled: 2002
Bottled: 06.05.2016
Age: ca. 14 years
Limitation: –
Casks: refill sherry hogsheads
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured

It’s been a while since I last had an Inchgower – they’re not a very prominent distillery in the whisky shops, with no widely available official release by Diageo we have to rely on the independent bottlers!

Tasting notes:
Colour: red gold
The nose starts off fruity and aromatic. Not an in-your-face sherried whisky, it shows an elegant restraint, yet still loads of character. Apple and pear compote (including slightly green peel) with honey and the odd dried date thrown in. There’s also a hint of honey-covered crunchy muesli in the background with a whiff of fragrant oak. Oh, and a cinnamon stick and exactly two cloves. Fruity, but not overly sweet – the magic of good refill casks! Let’s check the palate now! Continue reading