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 2019 – 38-41 – Bar C Shell, Tokyo

38 – Ben Nevis 22 years 1996 by the whisky find sherry butt c#828
Nose: Dough, chocolate, orange, apricot, cream, lemon cheese cake, almonds

Palate: Apricot, stonefruit, whipped butter, burnt chocolate cake

Finish: Cream, spices, rock melon

****

39 – Ben Nevis 21 years 1996 selected by J’s Bar bottles by The Vintage Malt
Nose: dough, apricots, almonds, candy orange zest, chocolate

Palate: cream, rock melon skin, citrus candies

Finish: cream, salt, butter, burnt orange zest

****

40 – Auchroisk 28 by Cadenhead for Whisk-e 42.8%
Nose: Pencil shavings, chlorine, yeasty, hand lotion

Palate: Kinda empty, old ice cubes

Finish: oil paints, olive brine, super savory

***

41 – Imperial 17 Years Cigar Malt Salon de Shimaji PEN x Shinanoya
Nose: jersey caramels, brown sugar and butter, maple syrup, grilled nectarines

Palate: cream, apricots, honey, rye, butter, tobacco

Finish: Butter and soy sauce, tea tannins, grape seed

****

Whisky 2018 – 180-184

181 – Douglas Laing’s Timorous Beastie 21 Year Old Sherry Blend
Nose – honey, fruit tingles, hand cream
Palate – honey, lemon, slight hazelnuts, cocoa
Finish – slight sugary and creamy

182 – Ben Nevis 1990 by Le Gus’t 27 years 1990 Port Pipe Cask #5 *
Nose – aged sake, truffles, funky, dirty, cigarettes, honey,
Palate – honey, maple syrup, terbium, hairspray, bbq meats
Finish – salty, pepper sauce, honey, herbs

183 – Glenlivet 2007 by Signatory bottled 2018 Sherry Hogshead 900204
Nose – chocolate, orange oil, cocoa, pine oil, apricots, fruity and vibrant with waterPalate – pancakes, salty, hand cream, honey, lime cordial, hot butter, caramel sauce, peppery with water,
Finish – flinty, rubber, soy sauce, cream

184 – Fettercain 1988 by The Whisky Agency for Shinanoya bourbon hogshead cask 2001
Nose – waxy, fruity, peaches, dried apricot, malt, honey, pencil shavings, nutty
Palate – watermelon, cream, blackberries, waxy, green fruit, hand cream, cashew nuts
Finish – creamy creamy creamy, pepper

Whisky 2018 – 139-142

139 – Drunken Master Ben Nevis 1996 20 years Cask 1448
Nose – dusty caramel peaches, fruit leather, lemon zest
Palate – peaches, butter, green peanuts, bourbon cream
Finish – creme caramel, green vines

140 – Maltman Ben Nevis 1996 19 years for Shinanoya Cask 1673 Sherry Butt
Nose – musk, moss, oranges, milk chocolate
Palate – funky, woody, terrarium, terry’s chocolate orange, scorched almonds
Finish – woody, perfume, orange pith

141 – G&M Balblair 1993 24 years Sherry Puncheon Cask 18/006
Nose – chocolate, plums, honey, stone-fruit, wax,
Palate – coffee, Christmas spices, bitter cocoa, peanut brittle, bitter caramel
Finish – chinotto, shaving cream

142 – Drunken Master & Mash Tun Springbank 1992 25 years cask 151*
Nose – wax, wood, green figs, salt, gunpowder, dusty shelves, bruised apple
Palate – creamy, old leather couches, pencil shavings, carob chocolate
Finish – huge length with salty cream

Whisky 2018 – 105-111 – Shinanoya Tasting

Massive Shinanoya whisky tasting thanks to the Elysian in Melbourne. Some real cracking drams, the Coopers Choice wasn’t on the tasting, just felt like an extra.

105 – DOUGLAS LAING OP CRAIGELLACHIE 1995 SHERRY BUTT 20YO 700ml 59%
Nose – rubber, chocolate, mint, dust, honey, red wine cask
Palate – brown sugar, roasted almonds, hay, sherry, dark caramel, musk, caramelized apples
Finish – musk, brown sugar, cream

106 – DUNCAN TAYLOR DIMENSIONS LAPHROAIG 1997 HOGSHEAD – 18YO 700ml 52.8%
Nose – ham and pineapple pizza, custard, oysters, barnyard
Palate – leaves, nuts, green sticks, honey, butter, roasted garlic
Finish – medicinal, glue, salt

107 – GLENDRONACH 1995 PX SHERRY PUNCHEON #4029- 20YO 700ml 55.2%
Nose – heavy brown sugar, dried apricots and peaches, old butter, green pepper, tobacco
Palate – caramel fudge, brown sugar, musk sticks, manuka honey, salt
Finish – melted butter and caramel sauce

108 – HUNTER LAING OMC BOWMORE 2001 REFILL HOGSHEAD – 13YO 700ml 57.3%
Nose – honey, old leaves, glue, yeasty dough, rosemary crackers, lemon pith
Palate – tropical fruit, kiwi fruit, ash, medicinal, minerals
Finish – heather, salty, burnt matches

109 – BERRY BROS RETRO LABEL CLYNELISH 1997 HOGSHEAD – 17YO 700ml 47.1%
Nose – honey, aspirin, mandarin zest, passion fruit jelly, granita biscuits, waxy
Palate – fruity, waxy, red frogs, apricots, pear juice, chicos, peaches, honey
Finish – grapefruit pith, salt, slight smoked ham

110 – KILCHOMAN 2009-2015 OLOROSO SHERRY BUTT FOR SHIMAJI PEN – 5YO 700ml 59.9
Nose – corn chips, smoked fish, barn yard, pickled onions, honey, dusty, lemon zest
Palate – honey, great mouth feel, ashy, pepper, sushi rice, blown out candle
Finish – old apples, pencil shavings, chlorine, melted cheese

111 – The Coopers Choice 1995 Benrinnes port finished 18 years cask 9547
Nose – cream, tropical fruit, toast and honey, wax, apples, raspberries, rock melon
Palate – waxy, chewy, fennel, cream, apricots, egg whites
Finish – salt, cream, old apples, slight woody,

Whisky 2018 – 51-54

51 – Old Particular Glenrothes 2006, 11 Years “Yagyu Challenge” for Whisky Find and Shinanoya
Nose – raspberries, raspberries sticks, woody, leathery, burnt caramel, pine resin
Palate – liquorice, wood, wax, melted butter, salt, milk chocolate
Finish – woody, sherry, salt, rubber

52 – The Single Cask Linkwood 1984, 26 Years Cask 4238
Nose – bananas, yeast, menthol, pine, glacé fruit, rock melons
Palate – medicinal, gentle, grains, old whisky, tobacco, honey
Finish – tobacco, old whisky, old apples

53 – Ichiro’s Malt and Grain “World Blend Whisky”
Nose – apricot, spices, marscapone, chicos, crushed ants, pineapple
Palate – apricots, peaches, cream,
Finish – old apples

54 – Glenrothes 19 Years, 1997 for Eiling Lim 50.2%
Nose – blackberry jam, caramel, purple plums, musk, vanilla, honey comb
Palate – sucking cream through a sherry cask, butter, shaving cream, black currants, blackberry, grilled lettuce, peanuts
Finish – tannic, rubber, butter

Whisky 2018 – 25-28

25 – Signatory Glenlossie for The Whisky Club 1997, 20 Years Hogshead Cask #1150
Nose: meringue, rose water, liquorice, mint
Palate: Lollies, caramel, banana pie, white pepper, kiwi fruit
Finish: cream, menthol, tobacco, rock melon

26 – Signatory Glenlossie for Shinanoya 1992, 24 Years Hogshead Cask #3454
Nose: caramel, dust, rock melon, marshmallow, peanut brittle
Palate: so rich, honey, cream, tropical fruit, green grass, pineapple, rock melon, mango pudding
Finish: tobacco, menthol, cream, tropical fruit, vanilla

27 – Liquid Treasures Speyside 1993, 22 Years
Nose: Sherry, sherry, sherry, hazelnuts, funk, sulfur, rubber, old apples
Palate: Cream, rubber, cream and a bit more rubber, mushroom pate, old apples
Finish: Like licking a sherry barrel, cream

28 – The Maltman Knockdhu 2007, 9 Years Sherry Cask 003
Nose: caramel, soy sauce, banana, rubber, sulfur
Palate: sugar, honey, funky earthy, liquorice, rubber, sulfur
Finish: liquorice, salt, sherry, chocolate

Whisky 2017 – 212-214

A whisky tasting to help bring me out of my funk – concentrating on the nose and palate was very good for my head. These three were really special drams, thanks to Yao and Cennon at the Elysian for looking after me.

212 – Signatory Glenlivet for thewhiskybarrel.com 10th Anniversary 2006 11YO Cask #900552 *
Chocolate, dried apricots, marshmallow, crushed ants, cloves, menthol, mint, perfume. Cream, and grilled fruit, chocolate, sarsaparilla, caramel sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, rose petals, raspberries.

213 – The Chess “White King” Macallan Shinanoya 1995 20 Years *
Toffee apples, lemons and oranges, terry’s chocolate orange, mint, marzipan, uncooked pastry. So big, dusty caramels, loads of cream and vanilla, crushed ants, mint slice biscuits, creme brûlée, toasted wood, cream and strawberries, pavlova, white peaches, tarte tatin.

214 – Kintra Whisky Undisclosed Irish Distillery 14 Years Sherry Hogshead Cask 10834
Plastic, hazelnuts, pop corn, sherry fino, apple sauce. Pop corn, corn chips, sulphur, peanuts, really old apricots, chocolate, green chili, chocolate and prunes.