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 – 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 2017 – 92-99

Some crazy independents here – thanks to my buddies Kelvin and Yao at The Elysian Whisky Bar. The Bowmore and Tomatin were my picks. 

92 – Berry Brothers 1992 Dailuaine 22 for Shinanoya
Apricots, dried fruit, orange zest, vanilla cake, light Xmas spice. Creamy, grilled stone fruit, green grass, roasted shallots.


93 – Three Rivers Whisky Talk Fukuoka “The Statue” Bunnahabhain 22 Years
Vanilla cake, apricots, slight meaty, ice cream, cloves, handcream. Gentle, fruit cake, hazlenut oil, really nutty, buttery.

94 – Kingsbury Auchroisk 1991 Sherry Butt Cask 2555
Dry ginger, orange rind, leather, sarsaparilla, cloves, wood, salted peanuts, plastic. Hairspray, old butter, leather, beef broth, stewed apples, coffee grounds.


95 – Three Rivers Bowmore 1996 Hogshead Cask 960039
Wet cardboard, caramel, LPG, steak and kidney pie, pepper and honey. Green grass, loads of honey, leaves, hot volcanic rocks, cream, ash, green plums, kiwi fruits, gooseberry, pencils shavings, band-aids.


96 – Glenflorres 12 Years 1970/80s bottling
Warm short bread, eggy pudding, mango, orange zest, slight licorice, wood resin. Soap, lavender, lemon balm, air freshener, slight creamy finish… soooo freaking weird.


97 – Tomatin 8 Years Limburg Dramclub 2015 Club Bottling 5
Chocolate dipped bananas, white chocolate mouse, cloves, cinnamon sticks, cherry ripe. Sweet tomato paste, caramel, banana lollies, pepper candy (is that a thing), musk lollies, clove and quince jam. Huge amounts of vanilla cream and spice with water, old butter finish.

98 – Chieftain’s Mortlach 1997 19 Years, Cask 5245 for Drunken Master Bar
Chicos, powdered gravy, Terry’s chocolate orange, vanilla beans, roasted pumpkin, mushrooms and earth. Sarsaparilla, woody, tea and wine tannin, cream, rubber, dusty, dried cherries and old prunes.


99 – Kingsbury Laphroaig 2000 16 Years Cask 3621
Jersey caramel, bacon on a campfire, sweet autumn leaves, plastic. Bone, mulch, burnt bacon, clear sugars, lemon pith, stones in a fire, banana leaf, slight rubbery.