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.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


From the village of Rothes in central Speyside, the Glenrothes Distillery with its cathedral like stillhouse often lives a life in bit of anonymity - a shame really because it does put out some very good bottlings on its own.

I might add that the distillery is not normally open to the public, so if you want to visit you need to e.g. attend the Speyside Festival... I certainly think its worth a vist for the still house alone...

We see a good handfull of single cask bottling from indepenent bottlers from time to time and the Archives one is one of those... This review also concludes the 6 part 'Archives - Batch 3'-series.

Glenrothes 1988 23yo 06.06.1988/04.01.2012 refill sherry hogshead#7318, 53,4%, Archives

Straw coloured

A baked gristy note, slight alcohol burn on the nose. Some spicy winey sweetness carries through, probably the sherry cask speaking here. Freshly cut grape fruits. After a few minutes the citrus notes become more dominant as does wet oak.

Apples and sugar jarred and shelved for a winter. Fermented garden fruits. Hints of crushed rosehip and that baked spice note from the nose again. Peppery and a dash of oriental spice mix. Finished on a little too much oak in the back of the mouth to really get this taster going...

...a very pleasant dram, nonetheless! :-)


Saturday, 28 July 2012


The Speyside Autumn Festival has put its events online to book this evening.
The festival runs from 27th September until 1st October 2012.

The Autumn Festival is only centered around the village of Dufftown, but still some very good events on - incl. some of the bus tours available.

Tastings can be booked from Mike and his Whiskyshop Dufftown team HERE

Out-and-about events can be booked from this site HERE

Friday, 27 July 2012


This is 'old' news by now, but because of Ardbeg's cult status among whiskylovers, I'd give it a late mention.

Ardbeg is putting out a new release in September this year, by the name of 'Galileo'
Its rumoured to an all 1999 vintage making it around a 12yo and matured in Marsala wine casks and bottled at 49%. Price will, according to rumours, land around the £60-70 mark.

The 'Galileo'-name has also been trademarked in the US, meaning this release will also be available there.
The US Treasury application can be found here


Not long ago, I did a review of another Imperial from 1995 - a Signatory bottling exclusively for Denmark, which was an excellent dram!

Now, I get to compare it with another 1995 single cask, which I think is very interesting.
If you want to compare notes on the 2, you can find the other one here

Imperial 1995 16yo xx.95.1995/xx.04.2012 ex-bourbon cask#50035, 51,7%, Archives

Full straw in colour

Initially a heavy sweet note that leads the thoughts towards Rum. Then melon skins and damp cold storage fruits and a hint of red berries in the background. Freshly squeezed lemons...

Spices, fruits, hints of mint and some natural caramel. A relative short finish on nice gentle oak and malt. After some time I get those freshly squeezed lemons again this time also with grassy notes wrapped in grist. Very nice!


Thursday, 26 July 2012


Bruichladdich makes it to the news often these days - especially with the news of their sale to French group Remy Cointreau.

This time the news is of a different nature - its a new release... and one this blogger is eager to try...

The Port Charlotte Spirit peated spirit from Bruichladdich has reached 10 years and a 6000 bottle release is due for August. The alc.% will be 59,8% and its an all ex-bourbon cask release.

Price will be around 95€ and the name of the release will be 'TRO NA LINNTEAN'

Official PC10 product sheet can be found here

Official Picture by Bruichladdich

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Many a Speyside whisky anorak has the hots for this distillery - incl. myself...
Some pretty good older sherry matured stuff has come out from bottlers like G&M, though old stocks seem to be dwindling at an alarming rate... not just because its old, but its also pretty tasty ;-)

Lets see how this 1992 fares:

Longmorn 1992 19yo xx.10.1992/xx.05.2012 ex-bourbon cask#86607, 48,5%, Archives

Golden straw in colour

Malt, vanillas, white fruits with a hint of pear is dominant. After a few minutes it turns to a more orangy note, but the malt is still very much in charge leaving a chocolaty maltiness in the empty glass.

Firm malt led by spices and a good measure of wood.
The whole thing is maybe a little too spice led and the spirit on top seems a little hot.
This Longmorn seems to be maybe a tad simple, but its still very drinkable with its citrussy finish.


Monday, 23 July 2012



The sale of Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay to French drinks giant Rémy Cointreau is now a reality. The sale will put a good deal of money into shareholders pockets as the distillery is sold for more than predicted.

Rumors also says that Rémy Cointreau will increase production and create more jobs at Bruichladdich as well as securing the existing ones, which is good news for Islay.

More here


Whisky from the Isle of Jura has taken a lot of beating on many occasions - and with good reason, since its not been very good in the past. This seems to have changed now and newer distillery bottlings are starting to pick up decent reviews.

This, however is an bottling from older stock, so lets see what that spirit and last but not least cask has to offer...

Isle of Jura 1988 24yo xx.04.1988/xx.04.2012 ex-bourbon cask#752, 51,3%, Archives

Straw coloured

Initially a byteric note? :-O ... then herbal, warm car engine, burnt plastic?
After 15-20mins, some orange/lemony notes peaks through along with a baked note and a handful of herbs. Grains lurking in the background.

Certainly tastes better than it noses. Whiffs of celery and herbs in general for sure. Exotic wood sorts... Honeyed and flowery and a citric finish with a hint of peat - decent dram now...

84/100! ... if you can get past the nose ...

Saturday, 21 July 2012


This is the 2nd Littlemill bottled by the Whiskybase-guys in their 'Archives'-series...
The first one was bottled as a part of their inaugural release in 2011 at 22yo and 48,3%

The 2nd one, as I'm about to review below is just slightly older and stronger...

Let's try it:

Littlemill 1988 23yo 07.11.1988/xx.05.2012 ex-sherry cask#08/1077 49,3%, Archives

Full gold in colour

Marzipan, sherry, orangy notes, hints of struck match. Some unidentifiable exotic fruit and noddle herbal spices. A very special style nose indeed.

Wow, Mouth filling, yet gentle, sherry and dark fruits with that exotic herbal element lurking right there both mid-palate and in the aftertaste. I'm also thinking wet tobacco leaves and wet earthen floors?

I've never been much of a Littlemill man myself, but this one is really good!


Friday, 20 July 2012


Up next after a summer refreshing review of Port wines, were now back to malts.

This round of bottlings are from fairly new Dutch bottler 'Archives'.
Some of you may know the guys as being behind the worlds largest online whisky database


The next 6 reviews will feature bottlings from 'Archives' 3rd batch of bottlings, many of which have already gotten very excellent reviews from other bloggers.

If you're interested in getting you hands on some of these bottlings (except those that are not already sold out, of course) you can do that at the whiskybase shop here

First up, an old Tomintoul...

Tomintoul 1969 42yo xx.06.1969/xx.03.2012 ex-bourbon cask#4266 42,4%, Archives

Gold coloured

Initially lots of oak and malt sweetness, then baking powder, bananas, hints of cinnamon and after some time full blown vanilla and furniture polish (the nice kind) - also sometimes getting a hint of wild berries?

Light arrival for such an old whisky. First a little citrus fruits, then drying spices and a hit of peat? Then ginger, nutmeg and pepper. Finishes on nice oak sap and sweet malt - very good!


Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Warre was actually the first British Port House, established all the way back in 1670.
The first guy named Warre, though, didn't join the company until 1729...
Also owned by the Symington family, mentioned in the previous review of the Dow.

You can read more about the Warre House history on their website

This review will also conclude the Port section this time around.
As Port are usually drunk alot around Xmas time, its likely I'll revisit a few around that time...

Warre Vintage Port 1970, 20%

Decanted 2½ hours

A light wine to look at, and also pour...reminds me of 'Ribena' blackcurrant juice when pouring. Otherwise I'd compare it to a very light table wine in appearance. During those 2½ hours of decanting the colour went from table wine red to a slightly brownish hue, especially on the edge of the wine... impressive change!

First out of the bottle before decanting it was MASSIVE! Red fruits by the truckloads, now 4 hours later it's still fruity but alcohol is coming through as well, but is very multi layered - think maybe the nose as become more Colheita-styled as it's gotten some airtime (don't worry I not throwing it around) I'm also finding something I would describe as cask notes as from old whisky.

Mid-palate arrival, strawberries - alot! think some may find it a little hot? I find it drying... maybe some licorice, also thinking maybe converting your mum's cookie jar to a taste, (Vanilla?)

Long, ...yeah, well Loooong, the fruits/grapes lingering, sugars hanging on, coating the mouth, goes on and on and...on

When I uncorked this one, the cork was wet 3/4 through and I thought I'd lost it and the first nose dip into the bottle said cork, but fortunately this was not the case.
Cork also crumbled 2/3's down upon extraction, but managed to get the rest out by gently applying the cork screw again. Also a lot of depót in this one...the tea filter filled up nicely

93/100! - Could drink this all night!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


Dow is another of the great Port Houses of the Douro Valley.
Founded in 1798 it has an unusual story since it started its business the other way around compared to British merchants at the time, who came to Portugal. Instead, the Portuguese merchant Bruno Da Silva settled in London and started his business from there instead.

Even the Napoleonic wars didn't stop Da Silva. He then fitted his ships with guns so they, under their own protection, could carry their cargo of fine Ports across the Bay of Biscay to England - a bold move in times where other Port companies saw their sales dwindle.

Its another rather prestigious producer today owned by the Symington family...this family though, has - to my knowledge - no connection with the Symington in the whisky industry.

Dows Vintage Port 1991 20%

4½ hours, cork only wet 3mm in - extracts in 1 piece

Dark cherry red with a slight watery rim showing

Good rounded nose with almost no alcohol, a tad simple maybe, with fresh must and a little mint and tobacco notes?

Slightly tannic hit on arrival, then rounds off, baskets of blackcurrant and some cocoa notes, slightly drying, Alcohol very well integrated

Get a little over on apples, acids, then back to currants, chocolate covered almonds, maybe? but definitely almonds on the finish after 7½ hours

Very very nice surprise, this one...
Note to myself: try and get another one of these and maybe leave it for 3-5y


Sunday, 15 July 2012


Founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Calem, the company back then exported wines to Brazil and brought back exotic woods in return. All this was done by their own fleet of ships and this is why the company logo still features the 3-masted 'Caravel'.

Porto Calem was family owned for 4 generation, but is owned today by Sogevinus, SGPS, SA who also owns several companies within the Port and DOC Douro wine trade. They also run a distribution network and several tourist projects with in the Port trade.


No bottle picture available

Decanted 4 hours:

Slightly unclear, Deep dark red with a slight hint of orange to the edge

A little alcohol, some dampened down wine, prune juice?

Again pretty closed, but loads of dark berries lurking in the background, no real alcohol attack as on the nose - just a nice hot berry feel to it. Real fruit concentrate!

Way above average IMHO - and better than the reviews it's been getting, I think Also Slightly tannic/drying on the finish - I like the laid back style to this one...

Don't chill this one too much - it'll loose it's complexity!

I like this - alot!

24 hours after decanting:

An entirely different beast on the nose

It's gone all traditional earthen-floor dunnage warehouse with a slightly chemical hint to it (in a strange, but good way!) A little alcohol + the fruits have almost disappeared with only few dark but concentrated berries left. Also maybe some exotic spices to be found, like the ones you get in a good curry? The prune juice from yesterday has completely gone.

Now extremely mild, the grapes seems fantastically integrated with the alcohol, some would maybe even say one-dimensional?? But I like it! If you think a slight bitter blackcurrant marmalade...?

More from the taste goes here - but with a tannic hit/drying that prolongs notes from the taste


Saturday, 14 July 2012


The final Niepoort in this Port Special:

Notes after 3 hours in the decanter and 3 pours back and forth from the decanter as well

Niepoort LBV 2004, 20%, bottled 2008

Dark red, like freshly squeezed blackcurrant juice – a very, very ‘heavy feel’ to the wine, almost oily

Slightly drying on the nose, cherries maybe, cinnamon? Getting a faint hint of old cellar here as well

Wow, I find this extremely difficult to pick apart, but initially it feels like an all cherries show with maybe some dark chocolates? Maybe some of that drying cinnamon notes too...

Extremely drying/tannic, right to the edge but the fruits is still in place…

This is a hard one to rate... I think needs some more time to breathe.


Friday, 13 July 2012


Today, July 13th has seen the release of the 6th batch of Glendronach single casks.

Bottlings are:

1971 cask#1247, 41 years old, Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon, 47.9%, approx 529 bottles

1978 cask#1068, 33 years old, Oloroso Sherry Puncheon, 52.9%, approx 318 bottles

1989 cask# 4885, 23 years old, Moscatel Barrel, 53.9%, approx 286 bottles

1990 cask#2966, 22 years old, Pedro Ximenez Sherry Puncheon, 55.1%, approx 539 bottles

1993 cask#536, 19 years old, Oloroso Sherry Butt, 59.4%, approx 596 bottles

Source: Glendronach

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Let us continue with more wine from fabulous producer Niepoort

Niepoort LBV 2005 20%, bottled 2009

Decanted 7 hours

Just out of the bottle it's extremely dark red, close to purple and slightly cloudy - After 7 hours it's taken now clear but still very dark red, with a slight white edge to it.

Massive grape attack, a little pricle from the alchohol (very nice) some oak maybe? Baked figs? a vague baked note in there also, maybe?

Again the grape is massive, but nicely integrated with the alchohol, loads of grape sweetness, blueberry pie

Long and lingering, far from as drying as the 2004 (later review), this one just slowly fades out...

An excellent LBV and quite unfiltered, maybe a good storing potential in this one...


Wednesday, 11 July 2012


I thought it was about time, I tried and wandered elsewhere than whisky.

That said and it being summer and -for some- more a wine than whisky drinkers season, why not wander into another -though small time- indulgement of mine - Port Wines... so for the next few reviews this is 'The Port Desk' :-)

Instead of me writing up a large section on what Port Wine really is, I suggest new readers start by going here on wikipedia for a thorough explanation.

Lets get down to it, then - starting with 3 LBV's from prestigeous producer Niepoort:

Of Dutch descent and now run by 5th generation in the form of Dirk Niepoort, this wine house is a family business and was established back in 1842. It and also produces normal wines as well as the highly regarded Ports. More on the Niepoort website here

Niepoort LBV 2007 20%, bottled 2011

Decanted for 8 hours - no sediment in the bottle

Very deep red

Freshly crushed grapes, an immense sweetness, reminds me of red sweet fruitgums from when I was a kid, some blackberry marmelade style sthing also

Light on the arrival and palate in general, strawberry and elderberry, then starts to go dry very quickly

Still very much on the light side with the palate following through, this Niepoort is and very drying, even more than the e.g. 2004 LBV which I found very dry as well.

A very easy to drink LBV is you like a drying finish - I like its 'straightforwardsness' but not the most complex of Ports this one, I think - most enjoyable, but I'm sure a couple of more years of mellowing in the bottle wont hurt this one.

A very decent score of 86/100!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Once again I know that one shouldn't drink with your eyes, but this one... and as with many other dark sherry bottlings - they seem to fly off the shelves at retailers - especially if there's a prominent name on the bottle label... It was no different with this one, since the label said 'Port Ellen'...

Port Ellen 1983 26yo 54,6% xx.03.2983/xx.01.2010 sherry cask#674, 282 bottles, Duncan Taylor 'Rarest of the Rare'

Light Mahogany in colour

Been looking forward to this one... I mean, the colour alone on this one looks so delicous.
My hopes and wishes for this one is to have the perfect balance between sherry and peat.

It hits your nose with perfectly integrated peat and sherry, then sherry and peat - wow, just perfect! Just the right amounts of each brings this PE's nose right up there with the best.
heavily roasted, slightly burned coffee beans and hints of old rum, dark fruits and exotic spices. Lets hope the palate can keep up...

Bitter sweet arrival with oak, peat and high quality oloroso sherry - not a single off-note here! Again everything is beautifully measured to just the right levels in this one. The sherry, peat and smoky malt and dark fruits are just incredibly mouthfilling. The rum and spices also pops up again mid-palate only to fade into a sweet drying peat smoke that just lingeres on and on...

This is top notch peathead pudding for sure! ...and some of the best PE I've had along with the Mackillops from a couple of reviews ago!


Monday, 9 July 2012


Latest news off the rumors mill is that Bruichladdich is to be sold to French Cognac and Liqueur producer - the Remy Cointreau group.

The Remy Cointreau group is after Bruichladdich because of the potential in Asian markets:

"It's a brand with strong potential for development because it is in the segment at the top of the market and complements our portfolio. The addition of a top brand would be in line with the strategy pursued by Remy Cointreau to focus on premium alcoholic drinks, which are in particular demand in Asia."

Source: The Telegraph


This bottling is one of only 3 bottlings of Port Ellen to leave the bottling line at Duncan Taylor in Huntly. This one is from a refill sherry cask...

Port Ellen 1983 27yo 49,4%, xx.03.1983/xx.05.2010, refill sherry cask#672, 278 bottles, Duncan Taylor ‘Rarest of the Rare’

Pale gold in colour

Strange one, this one… its Port Ellen for sure when you stick your nose in it, but almost no smoke/peat comes off this thing. After a short while it turns gristy/mashy and farmyardy. I find some salty notes on the nose as well, but this feels a bit off to me somehow – like the mashy nose doesn’t quite mix well with rest.

Tastewise, you sure do get the mashy notes, I get a lot of notes from like drinking from a washback only mellowed by the oak and then some peat, and let’s be clear - this is not a peat monster although it does have some.

Finish is, well, a finish on the same notes as in the taste and not that long.

In my book it’s a good PE but with no major buzz'n'fuzz to be had about.


Saturday, 7 July 2012


Time for a Port Ellen trio over 3 days... First up a Mackillop's Choice bottling and then finishing off with the only 2 Port Ellens ever bottled by Duncan Taylor in their 'Rarest of the Rare'-series.

To my knowledge, this is the only Port Ellen ever bottled by Lorne Mackillop.
I've tried several bottlings from other distilleries in this series and they have all been good.
I wonder if this one can live up to that...

Port Ellen 1979 30yo 30.08.1979/xx.06.2010, 51,9% cask#5585, Mackillops Choice

Straw coloured

Wham! Already when you pour this one the massive smoke hits you. I poured this one standing up and solid peat smoke hit me even then – didn’t even have to bring the glass to my nose. Sitting down and spending a little time with this one, a sweetness comes through almost immediately too, like some candied and/or salt sprinkled nuts and a huge malt sweetness. Big, big nose!

Full force palate arrival. Salt, peat, some oak going to the back of your mouth.
Then malt - tonnes of it! Turning sweet with vanilla, fruit and an almondy note, maybe...then again massive malt sweetness turning all ale like and lasting forever! What a PE!


Friday, 6 July 2012


Lets move om to the second Bunnahabhain... the one from the end of the decade - 1979
This particular bottling has gotten raving reviews from other tasters and the price on it has been driven up, up and away on auctions...

Below, you can find out if I agree if its really that good...

Bunnahabhain 1979 31yo 46,5%, 1st fill sherry butt#8893 516 bottles, Adelphi

Deep oloroso in colour

This one I had been looking forward to… I mean, the color alone on this one – my worst fear was that I could be sulphur tainted – and I did read somewhere it had some struck matches in it… Luckily I was wrong! This smells of amaretto, maybe some kahlua, all sorts of coffee and chocolate notes, just a beautiful nose!

The taste is dry – really dry, and no sulphur there either *phew*
It’s one of those desert dry oloroso whiskies that just makes your mouth water like a waterfall to make up for the dryness. Not much Bunna left in this one, I agree – the only Bunna-thing I got was the trademark old Bunna ale notes midway towards the finish. Else, it goes on with clean sherry, chocolates allsorts, coffees, orange liquers.
Absolutely Bunna-licious!

This is certainly a dessert whisky and no need for a piece of chocolate cake after this one – a cracker and beats the DTC bottling by a 1-point margin.


Thursday, 5 July 2012


Lets do a 2-part trip back to this overlooked distillery on Islay's north-east coast.
Both bottling are from the 70's... one the start and one from the end of the decade...

Bunnahabhain 1970 38yo 40,3%,  ex-bourbon cask#4073, 221 bottles, Duncan Taylor

Deep gold in colour

Here’s exactly what I love in old Bunna - tropical fruits galore! The whole thing just seems more lively and fresh and at only 40,3%

Spices, citrus and other tropical fruits, salt and some oak to keep it all in balance. The Bunna heavy malt notes creeps in along with the oak in perfect measure – just beautiful – not going to elaborate further on this one – it’s just a beautiful old Bunna with everything you can wish for!


Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Springbank 1992 17yo 54,3% cask#132, 257 bottles, Adelphi

Golden straw

Heavy oil, sweet smoke, some fruit, brint and salt. More oily and they should start drilling for the stuff.

Clear tell-tell Campeltown character here.
Did they mislabel this one Springbank when it should have been Longrow?
Mouthcoating diesel oil feel, peat, barley, coconut, the veggie rows in the supermarket and maybe some stale beer (in a good way). Something clearly coastal about this one as well...
A medium/long finish with more peat, pepper and sweet barley.
Reminds me of a walk on the pier in windy weather.

A cracking 'Springer'!


Tuesday, 3 July 2012


On Monday 4th June, I reviewed a sister cask to this one (cask#4721)
You can read that review here
Now let's try the cask filled just before the other one - the #4720

Both er are refill ex-bourbon casks and exactly the same age, so its should be fun to compare notes...

Clynelish 1997 14yo 59,1% from ex-bourbon hogshead#4720, 260 bottles, Adelphi

Golden amber in colour


Hint of oak first nosing, then vanilla and citrus fruits, Trademark Clynelish waxyness, peach and sweet apple crumble and a hint of 'Froggy' dishwashing detergent. With water more citrus (oranges) and vanilla comes out along with a dash of Irn Bru

Bitter sweet arrival, spicy to the level of european oak being used for maturing this one.
Peppery, nuts, salt and brine, more oranges and a nip of oak. Fresh oranges now for sure and that waxy delicious mouthfeel. All in perfect measures!


Monday, 2 July 2012


Of course, one of the ever so popular Islay whiskies had to sneak into this Signatory review - so lets have a Bowmore!

Bowmore 2002 9yo 60,3% 05.09.2002/14.05.2012 ex-bourbon barrel#800406, 223 bottles, Signatory Exclusively for Denmark

Bright gold in colour

Vanilla hit, then peat and flowers, heather and earthy notes.
Then butter on a hot frying pan and warm sand.

A fire in a flower shop? The Bowmore style is there for sure, but its pleasant and not FWP in style. Extremely drinkable at full strength (60,3%).

Vanillas and flowers by the truckload in the aftertaste on this one. I'm also thinking pancakes made on a metal plate over a campfire. Water brings out more peat and softens the vanilla.

My guess is this was a 1st fill bourbon barrel...

A delicious young Bowmore!

Finally, Thanks to Søren for the samples


Sunday, 1 July 2012


Rumor has it that Kininvie Distillery on the outskirts of Dufftown, the very much unknown Glenfiddich and Balvenie triplet, is going to restart production later this year in September, after being silent for some time.

Its a distillery thats not normally open to the public and it usually only opens its door on special occasions like the Spirit of Speyside Festival. Its very much a production distillery to visit, with absolutely no visitors luxuries - the distillery even has its washbacks in the same room as neighbouring Balvenie, very much showing its relations to both Glenfiddich and Balvenie in that way.

Lets wish them a good (spirit) run when reopening!

Kininvie stills © The Malt Desk 2010