About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Bunnahabhain 1978 30yo 53,8% xx.12.1978/xx.05.2009, refill sherry hogshead#7586, The Bottlers

Colour: Gold

Vanilla, Edinburgh Rock, citrussy and a mellow sweetness in general

Classic old Bunnahabhain ale (malt) note that I love, Fruits and honey, more malt and some dark grains maybe, some licorice, a nice heavy style Bunnahabhain full of flavour. Gets more spciy if a little water is added. Love it!


Tuesday, 29 May 2012


Benrinnes 1982 26yo 57,4% xx.11.1982/xx.05.2009, refill sherry butt#3229, The Bottlers

Colour: Deep Oloroso

Sherry and fruity first, but then almost immediately a full hit of rubber hit the nose - like a pair of wellies - a giants size wellies, that is :-/

More rubber and now also with a sulphury hit though water takes off the top notes of unpleasentries. I have also tried leaving the rest in the glass for a good 45mins, without any improvement.

I did not finish this dram out of respect for the next one to be had.
They say that 40% of the population is immune to different kinds of sulphury notes...guess I'm not! :-O HUGE dissapointment, this one!


Monday, 28 May 2012


Online UK retailer Whisky-Online has decided to move into the lucrative whisky auction market and have set up an auction site running an auction each month.

Terms and conditions can be found on their website whisky-onlineauctions.com


Moving on to a Speyside favorite in this V-part review:

Mortlach 1983 18yo 57% xx.05.1983/xx.08.2001, Refill Bodega American oak butt#2378, The Bottlers

Now, here is a sentence for you 'Refill Bodega American oak butt' - try and say that fast when you have had a few drams. The description points towards a butt made of american white oak (quercus alba) instead of the traditional spanish oak (quercus robur) and then seasoned with sherry before it is used for maturing whisky - This is also practice much used by e.g. The Edrington Group for their Glenrothes and newer Highland Park expressions. Although, this is the first single cask I have seen from back as late as 1983.

So, whats this Mortlach all about?:

Colour: Light gold

Floury (gristy?), vanilla, cream, caramel, a little oak sap

Spice rack allsorts - from the heavier stuff you but in your meat dishes to the more delicate ones you use for baking (very much vanillas again)... Nutty, vinous and hints of short bread on the medium/long finish. Not at all the heavy character you get from, let us say, the Flora & Fauna Mortlach 16.

This is a very good one, indeed


Saturday, 26 May 2012


Right, part II of V-part review of The Bottlers goes ahead with a Clynelish - should be good:

Clynelish 1979 21yo 62,3% xx.07.1979/xx 07.2000, refill sherry hogshead#8333, The Bottlers

Full gold in colour

Slightly farmyardy, the high abv% hits hard on the nose, with water some vanilla and mint comes out. Light chocolaty as well - very pleasant, indeed!

Chocolate for sure, cake creme, candy store, some waxy fruits notes and caramel. Long and delicious sweet finish with just a hint of peat



The weather is beautiful at this years Islay Festival of Music and Malt - and so is the whisky, I'm sure... but sadly this afternoon -only a few hours after its release at Lagavulin Open Day event- a bottle found its way onto eBay - the bottle chasers are at it again, sadly! :-(

Bottle on eBay

Other news from Lagavulin boasts a 2012 release of a Lagavulin 21yo!
...I just wonder how much that one will sent set you back?

Anyway, to all you Feis Ile-goers - have a great week! :-)


The same guy apparently also has a Feis Ardbeg available here and a Feis Bowmore here

Oh, Dear! :-/

Friday, 25 May 2012


New Karuiwaza 1990/2012 out from The Whisky Exchange in London - get one while you can:


Karuizawa 1990 cask#679 (picture from TWE Website)


The first reviews featured here will be of 6 whiskies from Edinburgh indie 'The Bottlers'

Founded in 1993 and originally -and still is- a wine merchant, the style of most whiskies bottled by these guys are very much on the vinous side.

They have far from a big output, and the last ones to hit the market was back in 2009.
They have done some legendary bottlings of both cult distilleries Brora and Port Ellen and these are now very sought after on auction - usually going at almost ridiculous prices.

(Sadly) there will be neither Brora or Port Ellen among this series of 6, but there will be good whiskies in this series of reviews, for sure. Finally - more on the 'The Bottlers' here

Right, lets see what these guys are about - first one up is a head-to-head with 2 Springbanks:

Springbank 1993 16yo 54,8% xx.03.1993/xx.05.2009, ex-bourbon hogshead#218, The Bottlers

Pale straw in colour

Fresh, citrussy, grass, briny with a dash of peat

Much more peat in this one than the nose suggested, some bitter oak, porridge and cask vanillas lurking in the background. Very coastal indeed with seaspray, hint of old dock (tarry!) and ...more peat!! Close to a Longrow! strange since its sister cask is far from that... more on that below. Medium aftertaste.

Maybe not the greatest of Springbanks, but far from a bad one either


Strange these 2 casks having forthrunning number and #218 being from March 93' and #219 being from April 93'. Either they had a stop in production or a filling stop with their newmake spirit being held over night(s) before filling again.

Right, lets have a go at the sister cask... #219 - no point in posting a picture of that one, since its similar to #218 except for the cask number

Springbank 1993 16yo 53,5% xx.04.1993/xx.05.2009, ex-bourbon hogshead#219, The Bottlers

Pale straw in colour

Creamy, heavy style sweetness, honey'ed theme here, ver little peat, if any at all noticeable at all.

Oh, here's the peat, though not as big as in #218. Its oily, spicy, heavy and drying, but still very much an easy drinker. Medium/long aftertaste.

This is the better of the 2 casks IMO. It's clearly more multidimensional compared to #218.


Thursday, 24 May 2012


I know this has been posted elsewhere back in February of this year on the WWW forum and later also featured on Whiskyintelligence.com...and since it's good event to show what sometimes goes to to these product launches -and my own review- here's the story once again:
‘Thor’sday February 16 saw the day of the official European launch of the latest Highland Park – their ‘Valhalla’-collection that promises to office whisky in the character style of the old Norse Gods.

A very exciting and also a hard project according to Martin Markvardsen – the Danish brand ambassador for Highland Park. Martin tells me it has taken a lot of research into old Viking writings and chronicles to come up with the profile for this whisky – but they have released the first edition – the ‘Thor’

The launch of Highland Park ‘Thor’ was set in the capitol city of our Swedish brothers – Stockholm and at the Viking theme restaurant of Aifur (
http://www.aifur.se) a through and through concept with traditional long tables and benches, cutlery and the right décor and therefore also the right place for a launch of a whisky in this style. Aifur is located in Stockholm’s ‘Gamla Stan’ (Old town) with it cobbled streets starts to build up your expectations when you approach the place.

Thor Launch Stockholm February 16th 2012 © The Malt Desk

Thor Launch Stockholm February 16th 2012 © The Malt Desk

Martin Markvardsen said hello upon arrival and after getting a welcoming drink in my hand I quickly found a seat and started chatting with a guy from a local Stockholm whiskyclub.

Shortly after we were treated to a 3 course meal and a lecture about Viking travels by Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson from Stockholms University. To accompany the starter there was Highland Park 12yo + 18yo – 2 nice classics which was given a short introduction by Martin.

...and after the starter, it was time for the official launch of the ‘Thor’

Gerry Tosh gave an introduction to this new series and the concept behind before 2 tough looking Vikings in full armor carried a large chest down the stairs and hands Martin the keys.

He then unlocked the chest and in an old-religious style lifts out a bottle of ‘Thor’ and raises it above his head.

Thor Launch Stockholm February 16th 2012 © The Malt Desk

At the same time – a dram of the ‘Thor’ is passed around…

So let us de-mystify this much talked about latest release from Highland Park:

Highland Park ’Thor’ 16yo 52,1%, 23.000 Bottles
Cask ratios for this one deserves a mention as it’s not the normal Highland Park style. The ‘Thor’ is 90% refill American oak sherry casks and 10% first fill European oak

My notes are:

Clearly peated, but not in the heavy islay-style, but still significant compared to the normal Highland Park peating level. At the same time it comes across light and fresh and with an earthy note I can only describe as a dunnage warehouse style. Also very fruity, citrus style, flowers in an orange grove?

Taste: The peat hits right away, but like on the nose, its light and disappears to the back of the mouth and lets a large amount tropical fruits and citrus (grape fruits?) notes and some vanilla and oak play on the palate. Also a little spicy and salty in the aftertaste – all which dries out to allow a whiff of trademark Highland Park honey to appear. All in all a whisky with a huge mouthfeel that also allows for finer notes to appear… and what really impresses me with this one, is its incredible freshness all the way on to its medium short finish again with the peat present.

It’s a nice piece of work by Highland Parks whiskymaker Max Mcfarlane for sure.

The next release will hit the streets before the end of the year, but it has still not been decided if it’s going to Freya or Loki that’s next

After the tasting there was a photo-op – here’s Martin Markvardsen and Gerry Tosh and the star of the evening - Thor:

Thor Launch Stockholm February 16th 2012 © The Malt Desk

Then it was time for mains and wine and music and entertainment, incl. an demonstration of how the Vikings passed time during the long winter nights. One of the games was ‘cheek pulling’… and the one who gave up first lost, of course – see a demo of it here:

Thor Launch Stockholm February 16th 2012 © The Malt Desk

After that it was time to lets some of the impressions settle a bit and have another taste of the ‘Thor’ from the bar and some of the local brew also. Martin and Gerry had commitments with Italian TV so it was a perfect time to indulge myself in another dram.

Before I left for the evening, Martin and I spend some time talking about the whisky scene incl. their business agreement with cooperage at the Sherry Bodega of Gonzales Byass, that does all the cask seasoning for them. Sometimes all the sherry is just poured away or sometimes its reused for another seasoning of new European oak casks. We alsos talked about the craftmansship involved in putting together these casks when a guy almost juggles this 500 liter butt around the coopers yard.

After an introduction to Gerry Tosh, Martin also let me know that Gerry is quitting as Global Brand ambassador to work fulltime in marketing. His job is taken over by Darryl Haldane, which btw is the guy with the mobile in the picture with the 2 cheek-pullers.

It was a very enjoyable evening indeed…and the next day snowy Stockholm showed itself from its beautiful side with the sun coming out just before noon and by that creating the perfect conditions for a walk around the ‘Old Town’ in Stockholm… it is recommended for sure – just as the Highland Park ‘Thor’... so good I just had to have one myself.

Finally a thanks to Martin for the invitation to the event.

Slainthé! ... or rather SKÅL!