Whisky 2017 – 41-48 – The Auld Alliance, Singapore

OK – So I went to the Auld Alliance in Singapore. Wow! I understand why it is regarded as the world’s best whisky bar. Yes, it was expensive but completely worth it – my only problem was my mistake ordering the Benrinnes. It is a fabulous dram, don’t get me wrong but didn’t really sit well with the other drams – a slight misstep when you are overwhelmed with such an imposing list. 

The Card Series were impeccable. I know there is a brouhaha regarding Japanese whisky prices and is it worth it. For me I tried three stunning, unique and consistent drams that deserve significant praise. 

The staff presented me with a mystery dram at the end a 1977 Sherry cask bottling of something Speyside. For me this was Ben Nevis but who knows. 

41 – Springbank 15 Years Old Tall Bottle from the 80s
Apricots, hand cream, brown sugar, plump raisins. Stunning mouthfeel, wonderfully spiced, salty, slight warm malt cake, stewed apricots dolloped with cream, cake mix.

42 – Springbank 12 Years Old tall bottle from the 80s
Fruit on a cheese platter, coffee grounds, tropical cordial. Leather, cream, perfumed soap, salt, slight tropical fruit sweetness, woody spices on the finish, malty.


43 – Benrinnes Silver Seal 30 Years 1984 Cask 2268
Malty, stone fruit, banana leaf. Hot, cake, leather, salt, maraschino cherries, Sacher torte, malt loaf with butter.


44 – Glendronach 31 Years 1978 Olorosso Sherry Cask 1040
Gravox, maple syrup, rubber, chocolate mousse, sulphur. Heavy and unctuous just crazy mouth feel, berry jam taken within an inch of its life, angry caramel, match heads, boot polish, motor oil.


45 – Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt Card Series 7 of Diamonds 1991 19 Years PX 2nd fill Cask 9031
Caramel, grappa, peanuts, stewed apple, vanilla, turps, sarsaparilla, German spice biscuits. Woody, perfume, bacon fat, smoked praprika, peanut brittle, gooseberries and stone fruit, milk chocolate.


46 – Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt Card Series 10 of Clubs 1990 PX 2nd fill Cask 9032
Wonderful cocoa and musk nose, orange marmalade, crepes with butter and cream, boozy stewed stone fruit. Toffee apples, cream, orange blossoms, leather, cream, white pepper, slight meaty note, white peaches, salt.


l47 – Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt Card Series King of Hearts 1986 PX 2nd fill Cask 9033
Smoked paprika, grape skins, roast chicken, Coke spider, sarsaparilla, musk, dark chocolate. Maple syrup, roasted vegetables, smoked paprika, cream on Xmas pudding, rockmelon, salty, rose hips, dry ginger.


48 – The Auld Alliance 1977 Sherry Cask (perhaps Ben Nevis)
Chocolate, dried apricots, salty butter, cake mix, yeast. Cake mix, apricots, leather, green peppercorns, cocoa, green herbs and salt, chocolate mousse, tobacco, spiced pumpkin.

Whisky 2016 – Favourites of 2016

179 Whiskies done this year. Here are my top 5 in no particular order. 

89 – Spencer Collings & Co The Founders Release
Brown sugar, dark toffee, honey comb, sarsaparilla, marshmallow, vanilla. Honey, toffee, caramel, dark malt cake. Stunning heavy whisky.

102 – Ben Nevis The Whisky Agency 2013 1995 18 Years
Old leather, cake mix, almonds, green herbs, hazelnuts, as it opens up more and more cake mix – it is stunning. Slow to start but this amazingly long cake mix thing which lasts and lasts, apricot jam in a cake.

109 – Springbank 12 1990s bottling
Christmas cake, dusty and fruity, brandy, brown sugar, salty butter, rose hips, egg white, apricot . Huge butter, caramel and rubber, coffee, apricot delight, passion fruit. Brilliant.

136 – The Whisky Agency Ben Nevis 17 Years 1996 for The Mash Tun
Sweat (in a good way), caramel, salt, marmalade, creme brûlée, honey ice cream, baked potatoes. Tropical fruit, ice coffee, salt, butter in coffee, egg custard. Wonderful.

150 – 2 of 3 Heartwood
Chocolate mousse, cocoa, stewed apple, toasted malt, rose petals, flat coke, egg custard, pancakes with maple syrup and ice cream. Toasted malt, roasted corn, sarsaparilla, brown butter, raspberry soda, milk coffee. Wonderful.

Whisky 2016 – 128-131 Bar Cordon Noir, Kyoto

I’ve had a lot of good whisky over the past few weeks. Ichiro’s Cask 2688 and the Chieftan’s Springbank were no exception – both wonderful drams. 

128 – Hart Brothers 1966 Ben Nevis 39 Years
Marzipan, apricot jam, leather, formic acid, golden syrup. Pan cakes, vanilla, touch of brown sugar, wood, crushed ants, stewed apples.

129 – Chieftan’s Springbank 1972 30 Years Cask 410
Old leather couches, boot polish, corn chips, salt and vinegar crisps, maple syrup, peanut brittle. Apples, cigar smoke, leather, beef stock, cloves, dry spice, over baked meringue, woody.

130 – Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt 2011 Mizunara Heads Cask 1429
Bananas, honey dew melon, Darjeeling tea, honey. Honey, salted butter, salt, toast, green herbs, orange cordial, kiwi fruit, mango.

131 – Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt 2013 American White Oak Cask 2688
Intense yeast, malt, bananas, whipped cream. Malty, HUGE maple syrup, salted butter, pancakes, tobacco, brown bread.

Whisky 2016 – 117-120 The Mash Tun, Tokyo

Back in Tokyo. As I said to Suzuki-san (owner of The Mash Tun) all I’ve done in Japan is drink these excellent Scottish stuff I haven’t touch Japanese whisky while I’ve been here. 

117 – Springbank 21 Single Cask Japan Only
Boiled sweets, Xmas fruit, kiwi fruit. Honey, green herbs, medicinal, salty, rubber, cigars, bitter chocolate, angry jam.

118 – Springbank 20 TIBS 2016
Hazelnuts, gas, chocolate, candle wax, roses, marzipan. Rubber, salt, bitter herbs, coriander seed.

119 – The Arran – The Mash Tun 12th Anniversary Bottling
Bananas, marmalade, loads of fruit, marzipan and beautiful sweetness. Apricot jam, cream, pepper, cream, chicos, coffee, rum baba, egg whites and clove. (Suzuki had these for sale – I bought one)

120 – The Arran The Devil’s Punch Bowl III
Soy sauce, leather, eggs, dried pineapple, chicos. Stewed apple, blue vein cheese, apricot jam, bitter green herbs, salt, pineapple, lettuce, tomato sauce, Caesar salad.

Whisky 2016 – 107-110 Old Crow, Zurich

107 – The Arran Devils Punchbowl II
White peaches, cream, ice cream, clove, apple snow, apricots. Bitter herbs, cream, brown sugar and brandy snaps.

108 – Royal Island 30 Years Arran (but really Bunnahabhain and Bowmore)
Chalk, pencil shavings, manzanilla Sherry, apples, toffee, stone fruit. Pencil shavings, some cream, pepper, cloves, pop corn, green herbs, salty.

109 – Springbank 12 1990s bottling
Christmas cake, dusty and fruity, brandy, brown sugar, salty butter, rose hips, egg white, apricot . Huge butter, caramel and rubber, coffee, apricot delight, passion fruit. Brilliant, top 5 this year, easy.

Whisky 2015 – 163-164

Sorry all have been a bit ill.

163 – Springbank 2001 Rundlets & Kilderkins
Honey, plastic, caramels, grapes, vanilla cream, watermelon. Honey, cream, the bitterness of rocket, slightly ashy and medicinal, cherries.

164 – Cadenhead Glenrothes-Glenlivet 24
Sulphur, gas, maple syrup, wood, chicos, brown tea and hay. Salt, wood, rubber, maple, dried strawberries or maybe strawberry jam, brown sugar, rum, brandy butter, caramel, chocolate and LPG. So damn complex.