Whisky 2020 – 13-18 – North Star Tasting

13 – North Star Inchgower 11yo, Bourbon Hogshead, 52.5%
Interesting nose of honey, mandarin and menthol. Cold salted butter and Some steely notes.

Palate is consistent with the nose and shows loads of honey and dry spice, salty melted butter on toast. It’s quite hot.

Finish is surprisingly ashy, salty and woody.

***^

14 – North Star Girvan 26yo, Bourbon Barrel, 53.5%
Nose is bounty bars, marshmallow and woody which leads to pine resin, apricot brandy

Palate is initially light, loads of cream and vanilla hits and leads into saltiness and stone fruit.

Finish salty whipped cream, green plants, and some coconut cream

***^

15 – North Star English Whisky Co 11yo, Burgundy Barrel, 49.8%
Very sherry like nose woody, lpg, funky and tannic, honey, heather and medicinal, quite meaty. It promises a lot.

Palate is confused with intense green capsicum, some pepper. Late there is some old tired wine casks, tannin and some positive minerality.

Finish is rubbery

*^

16 – North Star Blended Grain 36yo, Bourbon barrel 52.5%
Nose is crushed ants, butter, and quite bourbon like with notes of vanillin and pancakes. Some lemon balm and cherry strudel adds some real intrigue.

The palate is all toffee and stewed fruits. Some varnish, melted butter and brown sugar. Interesting fatty nuttiness like Brazil nuts.

Finish is great fruit sweetness, salty and clear… and super juicy.

****^

17 – North Star Glenrothes 11yo for ralfy.com 10th Anniversary, Oloroso Butt, 51.4%
Nose is typically sherried Glenrothes that salty boiling caramel thing I really like. Then some prunes and muscat grapes, honey, maraschino cherries.

Palate is super honey, prunes with great minerality. Later there is cold sweet ice tea and apricot jam.

Finish is simple and a bit surprising with river stones and ash.

****

18 – North Star Caol Ila 9yo, PX Sherry Finish, 51.8%
I found the nose quite exciting with pine, tar and Cheetos and some fruitiness from prunes.

Palate is bushfire with some nice seaside elements like crushed prawn shells and seaweed. Some fruit with prunes again and then with water a wonderful cinnamon sugar donut.

The finish maritime and boot polish.

***^

Whisky 2020 – 6-12 – Bushfire Relief Tasting

6 – Armorik 2016 Maître de chai 46%
Nose is cream, cloves and caramel. Some dust and orange zest.

Palate quite cooling initially, really sherry fino influence. Sticky cinnamon buns and salted butter.

Finish cream and herbaceous

***

7 – Overeem sherry cask OHD30 43%
Varnish and cream! Blackberries, lpg, mandarins and eggy pudding on the nose.

Palate is refreshing. Slight citrus, creme caramel,

Finish is pine and citrus cooling.

***

8 – Redlands Private Investor Cask RD208#16
Nose is wonderful friendly bananas split with chocolate. Some cream and freshly cut pine.

Palate of bananas, cream and egg whites. It’s hot and big!

Finish salt, cream, cucumbers and new make.

** (not great but glad I got to try it)

9 – Longrow 11 years by Cadenhead cask strength Port Cask 57.8%
Nose of prunes, figs, sweat, chlorine, earth, chocolate and cream

Palate of ashy stones, mango, Seville orange, rich earth. Prunes, leather, liquorice and medicinal.

The medicinal nature rings through the finish, and then some delicious caramel.

****

10 – Ardbeg Drum committee release
Nose of caramel, salt preserved lemon, sea spray, stones and paprika

Strongly tropical palate with clear pineapple, ash, salt. Great and intense minerality gives way to loads of tropical fruit and oranges.

Yoghurt, pineapple and ash.

****

11 – Laphroaig Cairdeas 2012 (18th year of Friends of Laphroaig)
Nose is quite tropical, pineapple and mango skins,

Palate is really ash and minerally, plastic, corn chips, but then kicks into clear sweetness.

Finish is cooling coals and ash. Beautiful clarity.

****

12 – Ledaig 1974 43% (bottled 1992)
Nose is chocolate pudding, old cream and smoke. Waxy, hay and stones. Coconut rough!

Palate orchard fruits apples, pears, wax. Chocolate and earthy stones.

Finish is more stones and green moss. Extremely long… more chocolate, ashy stones and finally cream. and butter.

****^

Whisky 2020 – 1-5

Kicking off for 2020. For reference ^ is half a star.

1 – Glenlossie 22 Years 1997 by Maltbarn no. 117 bourbon cask
Nose is full of apricots and glacé ginger on top of a vanilla pound cake, layers of strawberry jam and hints of juniper.

Palate is dense with whipped cream, spice and salt. Reminds me of Ben Nevis with grassy notes, but was expecting more stone fruit.

Dried muscats and prunes on the finish

**^

2 – Old Pulteney 1983 American & Spanish Oak Casks 46%
Deep and brooding, loads of dried dark fruits like prunes and dates, lifted by orange zest. A clear but not unpleasant metallic and varnish element. With some time liquorice and chocolate. Surprisingly a few hints of watermelon and green plums.

Palate salty butter, sea spray, bitter caramel, tea tannins and almond shells. Quite layered and complex for a 46% whisky. Apple snow with a lick of cream leads to hay and malt.

Finish is lovely notes of tobacco, cream and candied apple.

****

3 – Craigellachie 2008 10 years by Battlehill, sherry cask finish no. 759000943
Ok super interesting Maggi chicken 2 minute noodles, butterscotch, prunes and wonderfully dusty.

Palate is intense dried prunes and figs. Fino sherry liveliness that lovely maritime and apple note. Slight ashiness.

The finish is long and fills your lungs, rubber, spice and terrariums.

****

4 – Glendronach 1992 26 years port pipe cask no. 5896 49.3%
Steel, zinc, metallic in the most wonderful way. Nail varnish, cocoa and orange zest, cloves, anise and plastic. Ice coffee mixed with melted butter!!! This nose just keeps giving – prunes and sun warmed plums. This is a glorious nose.

Palate was cooling initially and then really clear black fruit sweetness hits. Some interesting dry bones, black berry vines, nori butter flavours. Finally super nutty – caramelised pecans and walnuts.

Great finish of walnuts cooked in salty brown butter.

**** (mainly for the nose)

5 – Glendronach 2006 13 years Oloroso puncheon cask no. 3359 56.7%
Wow what a nose – cream, caramelised stone fruit, beautiful apricots and peaches, toasted brioche with mascarpone and hot toffee.

Palate has beautiful stone fruit and berries, some great toasty notes. Imagine brioche (again) with tinned pears cream and clove.

Finish is sweet and buttery… berry sweetness mixed with metallic elements not overwhelming at all but long and extremely pleasant.

****^

Whisky 2019 – 124-127

124 – Craigellachie 12 for Quaich Bar Cask #39215 PX
Nose that is strongly honeyed, with cold butter and minerality. Some liquorice and caramel, slight ozone and green hills. Palate has honey continuing, deep woody notes and controlled sulfur there is a lovely puff of marshmallow. That honey note is even in the finish and there is some real earthy soil.

****

125 – Springbank 12, 1996 NC2 by Duncan Taylor 46%
Nose of honey, hay and (unpleasantly) plasticine but the apricots and tropical fruits are positive. The palate is gentle and tropical with dried salted mango and a hint of peanut brittle. Simple finish of grape vines. Hmmm… disappointing.

**

126 – Ichiro’s Malt & Grain 2019 bourbon barrel for The Whisky Plus cask 7172 59%
Delicious grilled bananas with brown sugar on the nose followed by raspberry lollies, dried pineapple, vanilla and crushed ants. Palate is very bourbon like toasted pound cake with vanilla cream, butter, some stone fruit, waffle cones. Lovely long but simple finish of tropical fruits and rancio.

****

127 – Longrow 1993 10 year old
Nose of lemon barley! Some old bottle effect is there but it blows away with time to revea caramel, hay, salt and pepper. The palate has some Campbeltown funk, bruised apples in light caramel sauce with toasted sesame seeds. The finish has more bruised apple then apricot seeds and green grass.

****

Whisky 2019 – 109-123 Flora & Fauna Tasting

Diageo’s Flora and Fauna series was front and centre for The Elysian’s 3rd birthday! Strap in for 15 drams.

109 – Strathmill 12yo
Great nose of lemon curd slathered on shortbread, dried ginger, green cardamom, egg white. But it comes apart on the boring palate of unripe pear and olive oil. This finish is overly salty with hints of underripe stonefruit and some cream.

**

110 – Linkwood 12yo
Nose has some lovely green apple sorbet notes with creme fraiche, dry baking spices, dried apricots and vanilla bean. Transforms on the palate to ice cream and sun ripened slightly green apricots. The whole vanilla/cream thing continues to be melted ice cream on the finish.

***

111 – Glendullan 12yo
Simple but pleasant nose of caramel and was spicy like an uncooked apple crumble. Palate was quite neutral nothing really stood out but had a great mouthfeel. It was heavy and chewy. How is this a 4 star rating? The finish, long and deep! It was amazingly creamy and full of bitter almonds like marzipan and frangipane tart. For a simple whisky the finish lifts this to an excellent whisky.

****

112 – Dailuaine 16yo (Discontinued)
Nose was very elegant. It had lovely dried rose petals, dried stone fruit all sprinkled with brown sugar and a healthy dose of cream. Tastes of hay and coffee grounds leading into hand cream and dark chocolate. Indulgent finish of a chocolate and caramel cake.

****

113 – Rosebank 12yo (Closed Distillery)
Fruit medley nose with dried apples, tinned pineapple, young ginger. Some interesting whiffs of vanilla pod and curiously dry bones. The palate is grassy, with more orchard and stone fruits, some lovely hints of marshmallow and leather. Simple finish that grassy and salt.

***

114 – Blair Athol 12yo
Sherry influenced nose – wood varnish, caramel, snickers bars and a touch of rubber. The palate has sweet tea tannins and touches of flat coke. There is some nice fruit of dried peaches and muscat grapes. Beautiful white peach and salted butter finish.

****

115 – Auchroisk 10yo
Confusing nose of marischino cherries and marzipan, tomato paste, pears. The pear notes continue with pear tea cake with cream on the palate. Pears return on the finish with a salty and saline, pear juice lick.

***

116 – Inchgower 14yo
Promising nose of hand cream, baking spice and dry cocoa. Some grassy notes and a touch of apricot leather. The palate reminds of stewed apricots with cloves and pepper, unfortunately a saltiness interferes. Cream, baking spice and flat lemonade to finish.

***

117 – Mannochmore 12yo
Nose of glue, lemon, shortbread and slightly salty peanut shells. An initial floral palate moves to sweet tea and slight snickers bar. The finish continues slightly nutty and a lovely floral note.

***

118 – Glen Spey 12yo
The nose was really really interesting with a mixture of minerality and Portuguese tarts. The Portuguese tarts were just there when tasting as it was overwhelmed by dry spice and not much else. The finish was overly grassy.

**

119 – Mortlach 16yo (Discontinued)
Wonderfully complex nose of lemon zest, dried rose petals, apricots, caramel, butter, chocolate and dusty shelves, hay and sweet tea… so many layers. Palate with great stone fruit of dried apricots and green peaches and a surprising note of liquorice and fennel. Just falls a bit short on the finish slight stone fruit notes and salty.

****

120 – Pittyvaich 12yo (Closed Distillery)
Nose of dried orange zest, furniture varnish, woody, salted lemon zest, brown sugar and melted butter. Sherry sherry sherry! Palate of coffee, toffee, with a surprising mulch and woody note, dried cherries, wine grapes. Lovely finish of spent coffee filters and melted butter.

****

121 – Bladnoch 10yo (Discontinued)
Woooo!!! Bourbon nose! Mango, green apricots and pineapple, grassy, hand cream. Palate of salty roasted peanuts and dried mango. On the finish it moves really nicely into hay and cream. A solid dram.

***

122 – Glenlossie 10yo
Interesting nose of peanuts, fresh strawberries and green coconut. A cooling mouthfeel makes way for grassy, hay, bounty bar, tea tannin palate. Interesting and complex finish of mango seeds, salt and slight butter and some bitter notes of dark chocolate, grape seed.

***

123 – Benrinnes 15yo
Nose of manuka honey and aspirin and it becomes quite flinty and mineral with touches of caramel. Wonderfully umami palate with flavours of soy sauce and nori butter, Parmesan rind. Finish of coffee grains and more butter!

***

Whisky 2019 – 108

108 – Ben Nevis 1996 by Elixir Distillers, sherry butt cask #1528

Great nose of honey and caramel, marshmallows and strong minerality. Falling rose petals in a rose garden.

Honey, green grass and coal. Reminds me of the tar shampoo I used as a kid. The grassy note is a little too strong for me and takes away from the honey. A bit of burnt camp sausage floats in.

Straight forward finish is flinty, with green grass again and a hint of cream.

***