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 – 48-50

48 – Teaninich 12 Years by Hidden Spirits cask TH619 51.7%
Nose: light floral honey, juicy stone fruits, slight smoke, warm zinc, dough

Palate: great mineral elements, oil paints, light fruits, heather, leather, soil, nutty

Finish: light cream, flint

****

49 – Ben Nevis 13 Years by Hidden Spirits for Whisky & Alement cask WA916 57.1%
Nose: Honey, honey, honey, lemsip, nuts, earthy

Palate: Burnt toast with margarine and honey, thyme, prunes

Finish: burnt thyme, chicken stock, honey

****

50 – SMWS 52.23 “Ice cream and gorse by the sea” (Old Pulteney) 2nd Fill PX
Nose: Rich porridge, coal, rose hip, vanilla yoghurt, stewed apricots, fruit tingles

Palate: Creamy, so creamy, oats, pepper, leather, grape vines, snickers

Finish: cream, apricots, almonds

****

Whisky 2018 – 6-12 G&M Tasting

6 – Gordon & Macphail Teaninich 2009/2017 8yo Refill Sherry Hogsheads 46%
Nose: apples, glue, box wood honey, soap, leather, sherry funk
Palate: roasted plums, Waldorf salad, bitter herbs
Finish: cream, dry Xmas spice, dashi

7 – Gordon & Macphail Tomatin 1997/2014 17yo Refill Bourbon Barrels 46%
Nose: vanilla cake, lemon butter, salt, peaches, fruit salad,
Palate: Great mouth feel, loads of fruit and melon (honeydew and rock)
Finish: Crushed ants, toasted almonds

8 – Gordon & Macphail Mortlach 15yo Refill Sherry Casks 43%
Nose: musk, green strawberries, soy sauce, hand cream
Palate: raisins, apple pie, sherry funk, white pepper, black beans
Finish: sherry, rubber

9 – Gordon & Macphail Ledaig “Hermitage Cask Finish” 2005/2017 12yo 45%
Nose: bacon, roasted carrots, medicinal, Cheetos, chlorine
Palate: intense apples, smoke, roasted capsicum, pencil shavings
Finish: Cheetos

10 – Gordon & Macphail Mannochmore Cask Strength 2006/2017 11yo Refill Sherry Butt 59.4%
Nose: lemon drizzle cake, menthol, rubber, soy, new sneakers,
Palate: dry, flinty, loads of fruits, honey, soy

Finish: sherry tannins, rubber, cream

11 – Gordon & Macphail Glenrothes Cask Strength 58.1% 2005/2017
Nose: honey, honey, honey, toasted coconut, coconut rough, crushed ants, grilled pineapple
Palate: honey, caramel, coconut, salted brown butter, loads of raisins and pastry with water
Finish: leather and dried tropical fruit, green mangos

12 – Gordon & Macphail Balblair for The Whisky Hoop refill bourbon 1996/2015 Cask 414 51.1%
Nose: chicos, milk chocolate, terry’s chocolate orange, candied lemon zest, meringue
Palate: pavlova, lemon zest, cream, honey, fruit cup
Finish: cream, heather

Whisky 2017 – 204-210, Cadenhead Tasting

Unfortunately since returning from Japan I have been waylaid with influenza… I wasnt sure how my palate would go at this tasting but with these absolute stompers from Cadenhead, it certainly woke up!!

204 – Cadenhead Small batch Cragganmore 1993 22YO 56.3%
Lemon balm, cookies, mint lollies, apricot delight, vanilla essence, cherry syrup, ice cream, really fruity. Cake out of the oven, salt, passionfruit vine, roasted shallots, a touch or grilled stone fruit, juniper.

205 – Cadenhead Single Cask Highland Park 1996 20YO 50.6%
Passionfruit jelly, passiona, apple sauce, raspberry lollies, apples. Waxy, beautiful length with pancakes, prunes, fruit leather, instant coffee grounds, slight rubbery note, honey.

206 – Cadenhead Auchroisk Sherry Butts 1989 24YO 57.5% *
Huge sherry, rubber, sulphur, chalk, cloves, dark chocolate, oatmeal stout, menthol, apples. Huge sherry and then an amazing savory note, cooked down mushrooms, soy sauce and butter, some really beautiful caramel sweetness to begin with, toasted nori.

207 – Cadenhead Small Batch 175th Anniversary Blair Athol 1988 28YO 53.6%
Leather, cloves, wood chips and gum leaves, apricots, rocks, slight waxy note, hazelnuts. Cashew nut butter, loads of tropical fruit, lantana, creamed honey, whipped cream, apricots, loads of chocolate with water.

208 – Cadenhead Single Cask Teaninich 1983 32YO 47.5%
Peanut butter, ice cream, dusty, caramel sauce, rose hip jam, brown butter, chicos, wax. Wax, dust, chocolate, leather, herbaceous, tropical fruits, slight butter.

209 – Whisky Agency and Three Rivers Glen Moray 1994 re-charred Hogshead 54.8%
Maple syrup, raspberries, turps, wood glue, Bourbon like, crushed ants, pound cake. Vanilla, raspberry jam, green bananas, huge vanilla finish – would think Bourbon, crushed ants. (Was this a mislabeled Bourbon?)

210 – The Oceans Whisk-e Westport (Glenmorangie) 1997, 18 Years Cask 1500071
Vanilla, gravox, sarsaparilla, pancakes, maple syrup. Vanilla, bacon and maple syrup, golden syrup, aspirin, raspberries, perfume, soap, coffee, leather, sarsaparilla.