Whisky 2021 – 10 – 13

10 – Tamdhu 1991 24yrs 54.4% by Cadenhead

Nose is fruity and full of fruit jelly. Jersey caramels, cream and grassy. Orange blossoms.

Wow the weight on the palate it is thick and rich. Intense apple, grassy, egg white and spice. Cream and caramel.

Finish more spice and a touch of creme patisserie.

3.5/5 Stars

11 – Irish 21yr 1998 by TWA 51.3%

Nose is peach tea and mango. Almonds and milk chocolate. Liquorice and interestingly the slight saltiness of soy sauce?!

Palate is all juicy dried peaches and peach ice tea. Leads to green grass, LPG and cream.

Finish is like sitting under an almond tree in the sun eating toast with peach jam.

4/5 Stars

12 – Port Ellen 1983 27yrs by Duncan Taylor cask 672 49.4%

Nose is seawater and plums. Bruised apples and seaweed. Flinty. Pineapple jelly, pear juice and caramel.

Palate is super complex. Beautiful Fruit and peat and minerality. Iodine, burnt bacon and juicy tropical fruit.

Finish is long… seaweed, iodine, and bacon and scallop sandwiches with lingering diluted stone fruit.

4.5/5 stars

13 – Springbank 25 2020 bottling

Nose is peppery and fruity (topical and stone fruit). Burnt butter porridge and pineapple. Seaside pier wood.

Palate is fresh cut apricots and bruised apples, brambles. It has leather and salt. It’s pretty flinty, and has good oyster shell. I wanted a little more it felt a touch light.

Finish is buttery and funky in only the way Springbank can do with wood and spice.

4.5/5 Stars

Whisky 2021 – 4-9

4 – Glenallachie 2009 10yo Sauternes Barrel cask no. 3727 58.9%

Nose is very Sauternes with honey and blossoms. Hand cream, salt, freshly cut pink lady apples dusted with brown sugar.

Palate is quite hot, flinty, gun powder and rubbery. its got honey and caramel but it’s a bit disappointing Mr Walker for you.

Finish liquorice, fennel salt and burnt caramel. Hints of cream.

3/5 Stars

5 – Glenallachie 2005 15yo Madeira Barrel cask no. 3756 60.7%

Nose is orange, almond cake mix, burnt vanilla cream and brown sugar. It’s got a super pleasant dried apricot note.

Palate is hay, cream… wow lots of cream. Nutty and sweet apricots. Orange zest and cake mix.

Finish is unsurprisingly is cream.

4/5 Stars

6 – Arran 2002 17yo by TWA 49.2%

Nose honey, hay, intense fruit sweetness… fun fruit sweetness if I may. Eggy pudding.

Palate isn’t this a Ben Nevis? Eggy pudding, citrus, apricot, grape vine and plum cake. Nutty.

Finish is fake plum flavouring, date pips and slightly tannic.

4/5 Stars

7 – Ben Nevis 1996 23yo by TWA 47.6%

Nose is super waxy!!! Orange zest and brine. Honey and hay. Coffee and chlorine?!

Palate is savoury and waxy. Reminds me of burnt brioche. Green pineapple, olive brine.

Finish is (still) sharp acidic green fruit topped with cream. A bit spicy.

4/5 Stars

8 – Tobermory/Ledaig 1995 25yo by TWA 48.5%

Nose is waxy and lemon zest, fresh cut pineapple, pineapple upside down cake

Palate waxy, green peaches and pineapple, lemon zest, vanilla biscuits, grape vines and cream.

Finish is green fruit, spice, cream and spice. Maybe chocolate mousse.

4/5 Stars

9 – Bunnahabhain 2013 by The Whisky Jury ex Oloroso 53.2%

Nose is chlorine and Cheetos, clear raisin and date sugars. Band-aids and fritz?! (That’s Bologna for my US friends)

Palate is capsicum and cheese pizza, rocks and slightly ashy.

Finish is more Cheetos, rocks and fritz.

4/5 Stars

Whisky 2021 – 1-3

And we’re away for 2021. Hope you enjoy the reviews, they’ll be cross posted to Reddit and Instagram.

1 – Wemyss Bowmore 1990 “Satsuma Soap” 48% for Whisky Fair Takao

Nose is salty, flinty, I ripe plums, maraschino cherries and honeyed… really inviting minerality. Touches of cream.

Palate is intensely floral, salty, peachy, tropical fruit, slight licks of smoke

Finish is grassy, cocoa dusted and salty

5/5 Stars

2 – 1976 Blend The Maltman (Clynelish, Dailuaine, Macduff, Teaninich, Ben Nevis, Invergordon)

Nose reminds me of my grandfather’s garden with dried apricots warmed in the hot sun. Day old cream, spice and cloves.

Palate is gnarled woody apricot trees, apricot kernels and more stone fruit. It is salty and loads of vanilla cream. Goes tannic with bruised apples and slightly thin before the great finish.

Finish is super rich vanilla cream.

4.5/5 Stars

3 – Secret Speyside 1993 26 Years by TWA and Three Rivers 49.3% Ex-sherry hogshead

Nose is inviting deep sherry with apples, salt and stone fruit

Palate is cream, spice, and well controlled rubbery sulphur. It’s got a lightness of spirit with great nuttiness.

Finish is lots of stone fruit and sarsaparilla

4.5/5 Stars

2020 – Eurgh – Top 5

Apologies for my record keeping in 2020. Like most work and life were thrown some challenges thanks to COVID. Unsurprisingly I was still drinking drams and had the opportunity to partake in some sensational online “virtual” tastings including all of the Longrow Reds and a Aberlour A’Bunadh through the batches. Anyway here are my top 5 drams for 2020 – lots of Springbank!

Springbank 1991 by the whisky agency 27 years 46.4%

Nose is beautifully waxy and shows loads of fruit including apples, bananas and apricots. There is caramel and slight spice – some Springbank funk and old whisky smell.

The palate is rich and deep. Old apples, fruity, old and funky, waxy and pristine. Honey and super nutty. Wow there is some interplay between the elements.

But wow this finish is just nuts. It lasts for ever with mango and wax. Old whisky, candles and apples, dusty draws. It is elegant and pristine – the warmth of a smile from a girl in a summer dress.

Bunnahabhain 1976 35yo by Liquid Sun

Nose: cream, pencil shavings, raw chocolate cake dough, wax, underripe yellow nectarine

Palate big and impressive, sweetness, spice woody, red apple skin, bounty bars, fruit mince, hand cream, peaches

Finish freshly cut stone fruit, cream that lasts and lasts (we’re talking minutes here), a pleasing metallic resonance

SMWS 27.111 (Springbank) A coal bucket full of marshmallows

Nose unmistakably Springbank. Earthy, tobacco funk with a lattice of sweetness, leather and brandy snaps, dusty, roses

Palate sweet but not cloying, a heavy spirit. Leather bound books, orchard fruits. More fruit with water, start seeing beautiful waxiness, stone fruit and peanut brittle.

Finish charcoal dust, bitter almonds, salty, candied apple.

Berry Bros & Rudd Retro Label for Shinanoya Teaninich 1983/2018 34yo #6729 Refill Bourbon Hogshead, 46.2%

Wow! This nose. Shoe polish, maybe?? Carob, pineapple lumps, camphor

Palate really funky, minerality, lots of spice and juicy fruit. Tastes like “old whisky” and elegant.

Finish leather, tobacco, orchards.

Springbank 18YO 2000 Pacific Edge

Nose of pencil shavings, rock melon, cream, honey, iodine, dried apricots. Wow it just keeps giving, new things keep appearing like lemonade and lemsip.

Palate dried fruits, marmalade, orange zest, pencil shavings, rock melon, shaving cream and tobacco

Finish of gun powder, passionfruit

Whisky 2020 – 57-61 – BenRiach Tasting

57 – BenRiach 2006 Sauternes Cask 12yr cask 1853 55.3%

Nose or pears, honey and saffron, egg tarts, pineapple, white flowers

Palate peach, pears, honey

Finish is super long with spice, vanilla egg tarts and flowers

****^

58 – BenRiach 2008 South African wine cask 10yr cask 7856 59% (adoro winery)

Nose for me is heavy cooked chocolate, black berry, graphite, cherry ripe and tropical fruit?!!

Palate super spicy, grass and a touch or cream, blueberry napoleons

Finish woody, coffee and grape seed

***^

59 – BenRiach 2005 PX cask 13yr cask 6924 56.2%

Nose is deep milky caramel coffee, Turkish delight, dates, sultanas, honey

Palate honey joy biscuits, dates, tannin, rubber and sulphur but not balanced.

Finish a bit too tannic, sulphur but some nice plums and liquorice.

***^

60 – BenRiach 21yr “Temporis”

Nose wood chips, plastic, dried seaweed

Palate honey and seaweed, band-aids

Finish really iodine and juicy.

***

61 – BenRiach 1995 peated oloroso cask 23yr cask 7385 51.7%

Nose of BBQ ham, orange and citrus, chlorine, pine needles.

Palate duck a’la orange and smoked ham, green wood smoke and shoe polish

Finish caramel and chalky

***

Whisky 2020 – 52-56 – Berry Brothers & Rudd tasting

52 – Berry Bros & Rudd Benrinnes 1997/2017 19yo Bourbon Cask #856, 46%

Nose is honey, honey, honey loads of honey. Lemsip and apricots.

Palate is biscuity, waxy and some orchard, green pineapple, salty, orange blossom

Finish cream, slate and dried apple slices

***

53 – Berry Bros & Rudd Retro Label for Shinanoya Aultmore 1991/2015 23yo Bourbon Hogshead #6090, 49.9%

Nose is honey, waxy, orange zest, vanilla cake, chocolate milk, chocolate biscuits fresh out of the oven

Palate rye bread with salted butter, honey, grass and white flowers

Finish spicy and salty

***

54 – Berry Bros & Rudd Retro Label for Shinanoya Teaninich 1983/2018 34yo #6729 Refill Bourbon Hogshead, 46.2%

Wow! This nose. Shoe polish, maybe?? Carob, pineapple lumps, camphor

Palate really funky, minerality, lots of spice and juicy fruit. Tastes like “old whisky” and elegant.

Finish leather, tobacco, orchards.

****^

55 – Berry Bros & Rudd North British Single Grain 1996/2014 18yo Oloroso Sherry Butt #224766, 56.8%

Nose is crumpets, maple syrup, butter, Brazil nuts

Palate dates, red dates, wood notes lead chocolate liquorice and super spicy,

Finish dates and metallic

****

56 – Berry Bros & Rudd Ben Nevis 1997/2018 20yo Sherry Cask #85, 54.6%

Nose is apricots and oranges, coconut, lime, bitters, honey cake

Palate butter cake, loads of fruit, leads to dates, golden syrup

Finish metallic honey, toast with butter and liquorice

****^

Whisky 2020 – 50-51

50 – Glenfarclas 2005 sherry cask for The Whisky Club Australia

Nose of fudge, lemon barley cordial, roses and plastic.

Palate of chocolate milk, dried rose petals, cream, honey and lemon zest

Finish old leather couches and barley sugar lollies.

***

51 – Hazelgrove 2000 by Maltman 16yrs PX cask 11078 47.1%

Nose chocolate mousse, fruit cake, Campbeltown funk, bruised apples, prunes and coal.

Palate spiced apples, rich mushroom and beef broth, dark bitter chocolate, dried pineapple, smoked ham and soy sauce

Finish of bruised apples, salt, tar, ham soup and bitter drinking chocolate.

****^

Whisky 2020 – 45-49 (More iso drinks)

45 – Aultmore 11yr exceptional cask series

Nose is sugared almonds, cloves, gulab jamun and dried mango

Palate is light and airy with sugar sweetness, apple skin, rose petals, red berries and some milk chocolate

Finish is relatively complex and shows flintiness, candy, cream and bruised apples

***

46 – Balblair 2000 18yr Sherry Cask 46%

Nose of sultanas, caramel fudge, golden syrup, cloves in orange. Dried dark fruit, especially prunes and dates.

Palate pecan pie, vanilla bean cream and tobacco. Slight sulphur note.

Finish is warming think brandy cream sauce drenched Xmas pud and a handful of hay.

***^

47 – Inchgower 9yr by Cadenhead 56.5% (3y ex-bourbon 6y sherry)

Nose of warm date scones, honey, milk chocolate

Palate is of medium weight and starts with light maraschino cherry then honey, banana cake, salt, woody and a good lick of date syrup

Finish tea tannins, brown bread, touch of sulphur but a really lovely cranberry jelly note singing.

****

48 – Cardrona Oloroso Dramfest 2020 cask #735

Nose is really woody to begin, like fresh cut pine and balsa wood. Vanilla essence and dates.

Palate is hot and unbalanced. Eventually some cream, egg whites and cocoa notes. Maybe some dried fruit like fat sultanas.

Finish that pine note returns.

**

49 – Ledaig 2007 12yrs by Rest and Be Thankful sherry cask #700612 58.5%

Nose of honey comb, home churned butter, band-aids, river stones and tar.

Palate is autumn leaves, honey, salt, coal and plastic.

Finish more river stones and tar

***

Whisky 2020 – 40-44

Tasting with social distancing and isolation is a bit difficult. Things have certainly slowed down. Thankfully some whisky bars have been sending samples.

40 – SMWS 63.49 (Glentauchers) In the dark of the abyss

Nose is intensely vanilla, with delightful citrus rind. Some caramelised figs and hazelnuts, toasted marshmallow and musk.

Palate is very sherried. Very woody and a slight sulfur note. Dry cooking spices, vanilla cream, dried apricots and dates.

Finish rubber, wood char, toasted nuts, brown sugar and praline

****

41 – Four Roses Single Barrel – Warehouse KE Barrel 64.3E

Nose vanilla cream, cracked pepper, cardamom, crushed ants, raspberry and raspberry leaf, pink marshmallow and orange zest. A lovely backbone of shoe polish and spice.

Palate vanilla cream, buttery, nutty, some slight rubbery notes, mashed strawberries, Christmas biscuits.

Finish melted butter for days and fresh wood shavings.

****

42 – Benrinnes 1995/2019 23yo by Drunken Master & The Elysian Hogshead #9080, 48.5%

Nose of lemon, malt, honey and wax. That real “old whisky” waxy smell with slight tropical fruits.

Palate sweet like kiwi fruit and dusty mangos. Hay and boot polish. Finally some lovely liquorice and pepperiness.

As the palate fades a bolt of vanilla cream and aniseed that lingers

****^

43 – Glen Elgin 1995/2019 23yo by Drunken Master & The Elysian, Hogshead #3271, 51%

Tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, whipped cream and chewy meringue. Getting a slight medicinal sense?!

Great palate weight. A strange mix of floral, roses, chocolate bullets and black cats. Feels like an old whisky

Finish leather bound books, cream and potpourri

***

44 – Caol Ila 2006/2019 12yo by Drunken Master & The Elysian, Hogshead #311572, 57%

Medicinal honey. Aspirin! Salty and mineral. Pink lady apples and fairy floss.

Palate is autumn leaves, seaweed and forgotten oyster shells. Caramel and cream.

Finish is sea spray, autumn leaves and cream.

(As an aside we had a piece of white chocolate at the end and wow! Islay and white chocolate… who knew! Try it!)

****