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.

Friday, 27 December 2013

ROSEBANK 1991 - MACKILLOP'S CHOICE

One of the best whiskies I had in 2011 was a sherried Rosebank, so when I got handed a sample of this, I must admit that my expectations went up a bit.

But oh, dear :( as much as I love the iconic lowland distillery and the house style of Rosebank with grass, hay, honey, vanilla and soft fruit, this one just wouldn't do it for me - why? have a read below...

Rosebank 1991 (25.01.1991/xx.04.2013) 22yo, 55,2%, sherry cask#271, Mackillop's Choice

Colour is dark amber

Nose:
Very closed with a few honey and sherry notes. Some notes from the mixed spice rack above t he stove. The sherry seems to overpower the spirit here... with time a fruit/varnish note appears, mainly of the overripe kinda fruits sort as well as a mashy note.

Taste:
Malt... then varnish, herbs and an almost 80's Bowmore-ish flowery/soapy note... FWP (French Whores Perfume - to the unfamiliar readers) backed by oriental spices, mixed peppers, bitter sherry and a distinct dryness.

If you like the perfumy 80s Bowmores, you'll like this one - I don't...
You can almost drown the FWP out with water and only because if that it just barely hits...

70/100!

Thanks to RM for the 'experience' (sample) ;-)

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Monday, 23 December 2013

GLENDRONACH 2002 - DISTILLERY BOTTLING FOR WHISKYBASE.COM

This will be the last review before Xmas - and a Xmassy whisky this next one is, though maybe not as heavily sherried as many of you think a Xmas whisky should be, but I quite like this one and I should get around to review this one now, as there is still bottles of it to buy at the Whiskybase.com shop as per today (22/23 December 2013). (added 25. Dec: Now sold out!)

As you can see from the link above, I'm about to review a Glendronach - a distillery that has pretty much gotten all the attention since Macallan decided to skip on releasing heavily sherried expressions. This have made people start almost a cult like following of Glendronach, much like Macallan used to have...

This expression, however, is not as heavily sherried as many of the other expressions from this distillery - but that's partly because of its age - at only 11yo...

This cask also shows a few traits usually found in ex-bourbon matured whisky which is quite unique...


Alan McConnochie pouring straight from the cask during the Glendronach Connoisseurs Tour, May 6th 2012 © The Malt Desk
Glendronach 2002 (30.05.2002/xx.12.2013) 11yo, 57,2%, ex-oloroso butt#2751, 701 bottles, Distillery bottling celebrating Whiskybase.com v3

Colour is dark amber

Nose:
Gristy/mashy, dusty/mouldy, ginger (in an oloroso cask??), light orange liqueur (cointreau) the whole thing getting more citrussy with time and a few drops of water. Also some fresh sawed hardwood and hint of mint toothpaste in there. Heavy sniffs suggests some cooked apple notes hiding behind the sherry.

Taste:
First impression is that this is very fresh and clean cask. No immediate off notes, though the alcohol seems a bit aggressive. In spite of that, orange and dried fruit notes rush in to save the day. Like on the nose, some fresh wood shows itself along with some citrus, dried banana snacks and more ginger.

This is very nice :-) and could have picked up 1-2 more points if it hadn't been that aggressive.

88/100!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

AUCHROISK 20YO - DISTILLERY BOTTLING SPECIAL RELEASE 2010

Previous review of a young Glentauchers brought us close a small row of houses know as Mulben and the town og Keith. Now, if we move head about 2½ east from Glentauchers, we'll find one of the most peculiar looking distilleries in Scotland - built in 1972 in a Gothic style!

Auchroisk is a huge industrial complex and its whisky mainly goes into owners, Diageo's blends.
When visiting the place in 2011 during the Speyside Festival, they were storing close to 250.000 casks on site and their production volume surpassed 5.500.000 liters of spirit annually - so huge place!! Huge... all that spirit comes off 8 stills in an impressive stillhouse, though sadly being Diageo - in which absolutely no photography was allowed.

Well, not being able to take any pictures doesn't change the fact that today's whisky is great stuff! Otherwise living a pretty anonymous existence, Auchroisk suddenly became a part of Diageo's Annual Special Releases in 2010 - a series that also carries prominent names like Port Ellen, Brora and Lagavulin (silly priced, of course).

Auchroisk, being ugly duckling, is not fetching that silly prices and luck smiled to us here in Denmark when we while back had a supermarket sell these at a heavy discount (around £65 if I remember correctly) ... and not only Auchroisk - they also sold the Benrinnes 23yo 2010 release and Pittyvaich 20yo 2010 release for the same price. Anoraks stampeded to the shops in those days...

So, you're waiting to read if they can they make decent whisky at Auchroisk? They can!!

Auchroisk Distillery, April 29th 2011 © The Malt Desk
Auchroisk 20yo 58,1%, Mix of American and European oak, bottle 2646 of 5856, Distillery bottling, Diageo Special Release 2010

Colour is light amber


Nose:
This has changed alot since opened, all for the better though its never been anywhere near bad!
At first it presents a sour note and then a heavy malty theme - and this has certainly not become any less now... and since its reached a fairly low level in the bottle and I've become very well aquainted with it, fresh fruits basket, orange in particular, papaya, vanilla, fresh grist and a nip of oak spices stands out to me.

Taste:
For 58,1% abv its has a pretty creamy arrival. Then peppery spices and overripe fruits and nuttiness takes over. Water brings out more spices and the whole thing goes into malt and fruit overdrive... Oranges, bitter/sour apples, a touch of pot ale and something floral to finish it off...

An overlooked dram, for sure...! and still available at tad under double of what I paid for it - even with a £40 discount!

88/100!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

GLENTAUCHERS 2005 - ARCHIVES

Located on the northern part (as in past Craigellachie) on the A95 running through central Speyside, Glentauchers is a significant contributor to the blends by Pernod Ricard/Chivas Bros puts out, but Glentauchers mainly goes in to the Ballantine's blend.

Being literally on the road, you won't get much out of stopping there, though, as the place is not open to the public - but go across the road and a bit up the hill - the have a look down at the distillery and see how big it is! over 4mill. liters of spirit is produced there every year and the place runs 7 days/week - though that is not a rare sight these days.

A rare sight on the other hand is finding a bottle of Glentauchers. There's only ever been a few official releases, so you have to look to the independent bottlers to find some... and IMO its worth seeking out :-)

And speaking of indie bottlers - here's todays review of the recent Archives Glentauchers

Glentauchers Distillery between Mulben & Keith, August 26th 2012 © The Malt Desk
Glentauchers 2005 (xx.09.2005/xx.06.2013) 7yo 52,5%, sherrybutt#900392, 167 bottles, Archives - The Fishes of Samoa

Colour is amber

Nose:
At first this gives off a whiff of oven friend potatoes and black pepper :-O Funny :-)
Then nest is a gristy/yeasty note as you often get in younger malts. Then its on to cornflakes but then it settles on herbs, oranges, melon and barley sugar (wort). The sherry butt shows itself by giving off another fortified wine note - Madeira!

Taste:
Hint of younger spirit on its way to integrate with the cask very well. Malt and dried herbs, cough syrup, some light honey, stewed fruits and draff notes.

This is not bad, but I wonder why it was bottled now - I'm sure 2-3 more years would make this one a real cracker :-) Thanks to RM for the sample!

84/100!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

MILLSTONE 1999 PX CASK (NL) - DISTILLERY BOTTLING

Another sample review tonight - this time a Dutch whisky from Millstone. Never really paid much attention to stuff like this so (call me narrow minded and a Scotch Malt Whisky Snob - I don't care ;-) )

Anyway, as I don't quite know what to expect id' better get on with it...

Millstone 1999 (16.02.1999/276.082013) Special#1 46% PX cask#1 (8y in ex-bourbon + 5y in PX cask), Distillery bottling

Colour is dark amber

Nose:
Hello?!!??! What's this? starting on oriental spices, curry and cumin, then oranges and new oak and freshly peeled/crushed nutmeg. Also crushed black pepper and a thick syrupy layer from the px cask

Taste:
Extremely smooth on the arrival, so smooth I'd say anonymous. The spirit seems very neutral in style and the palate doesn't really provide any challenge at all, only providing sugars and some licorice and some bitter px sherry - other than that it just runs straight back to oak. This could just as well have been funny flavoured vodka to me...

This doesn't have any character to it at all - its all cask and no spirit - the nose was ok, though... just different

All due respect to the distillers at Millstone for their hard work, but... again, I was just reminded why my main focus is on Scottish Single Malt.

Thanks to RM for the sample

67/100!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

BUNNAHABHAIN 1987 - ARCHIVES

Yes, another Bunnahabhain - sorry folks, but I really like Bunna ;-) and I've really wanted to try this release since it was first announced. Why? 'cause most of the previous releases in the Archives series have been anywhere from good to fantastic. To those of you that don't know the 'Archives'-series, its bottlings done by the boys who run Whiskybase.com - the, by far, the biggest online whisky database there is.

This bottling has gotten great reviews already and I had hoped to reviews this sooner, but thats what I get for previously tasted stuff first ;-) oh, well...

Here's my review:


Bunnahabhain - The spiritual home of Black Bottle, October 8th 2008 © The Malt Desk 
Bunnahabhain 1987 26yo (xx.11.1987/xx.10.2013) 50,2%, cask#2557, 233 bottles, Archives - 'The Fishes of Samoa'

Colour is nutty brown

Nose:
Quite aggressive on the alcohol, IMO... but once it gets a chance to settle down, it gives off a bit of mint, wet tobacco, brown sugar, fresh prunes, burnt caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg, wood shavings and tangerines

Taste:
A very spicy sherry edge to it, so dry my lips keep smacking to produce more saliva. Very drying, but in a funny way that first makes your mouth water, then dry, then water and dry again. Kinda like when you at a young age did the obligatory dare with your friends to eat a spoonful of cinnamon - the taste of which can also be found in this whisky. Also herbs, spices, malt, dark Toblerone chocolate, nutmeg again along with coffee and nuts. A little bit of sulphur of the matchstick kind mid/end palate gives this one a mightier kick.

This is great sherried whisky, no doubt that would have reached a magical level have it had a little less oak/drying effect in there... The whisky can be found at the whiskybase online shop.

Finally, thanks to RM for the sample.

89/100!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

HIGHLAND PARK 2001 - GORDON & MACPHAIL

While at it I thought I'd do another review of a Highland Park matured in an ex-bourbon cask. As lots (most) of these goes to the indie bottlers who still have contracts with Highland Park, its the only way you get to try them as all of Highland Parks official bottlings are either American oak sherry casks or European oak sherry casks.

This bottling I'm about to review is from Gordon & MacPhail in Elgin (Speyside) and as the geeky ones of you know that they have some great stuff tucked away still...

Anyway, this is a Highland Park review so again, I'll present you with a picture from the magical Islands of Orkney :-) Below picture is from the hill outside Kirkwall (the name eludes me - sorry)


A view to Highland Park Distillery, just a little above to left of the centre of the pic, August 6th 2009 © The Malt Desk
Highland Park 2001 10yo (16.10.2001/13.09.2012) 57,7%, 1st fill bourbon cask#2998, Gordon & MacPhail Cask Strength

Colour is pale straw


Nose:
Fresh barley/yeasty notes, vanilla, apple, very floral (washing up liquid floral). Some smoke and citrus hides behind the alcohol. A bit closed nose on this one...

Taste:
Again very fresh, apple, but also salty and citric (lemons and grape fruit), peppery, hint of smoke in the background. Gets very malty on the finish, almost like old Bunnahabhains :-O

A very straight forward young HP, showing some very impressive malt notes. Maybe a tad simple but very enjoyable :-)

Thanks to RM for the sample

85/100!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

HIGHLAND PARK 1981 - A.D. RATTRAY

It's such a joy when you get to those bottles that are just not the normal style of a distillery, don't you agree? This time I've digged out a Highland Park from my stash - a bottle aquired in an auction a while back at no where near the crazy prices of today. Think this one was about €100 when I bought it back in 2011 or so...(can't remember exactly - sorry).

Anyway, not making this into a price rant again - I've done plenty already... but I'd surprise myself if another won't show up at a later time ;-)

So I'll skip to the review now...



Spirit Safe at Highland Park, August 6th 2009 © The Malt Desk
Highland Park 1981 24yo (17.09.1981/28.09.2005) 51,5%, ex-bourbon cask#6062, 266 bottles, A.D. Rattray

Colour is pale gold

Nose:
Vanilla, tropical fruits, mainly pineapple, peat, blood oranges and peel, very fresh, honey floral and more peat. Water enhances the citrus fruit in this one as well as making the peat chimney even more noticeable on the nose

Taste:
Creamy sweet barley juice, more tropical fruits, extremely honeyed, carries both regular and citrus fruits through here. Sweet lightly peated barley notes. Water brings out just the right amount of spice to counter the very sweet honeyed style - everything is just in good measures here.

A good swimmer this one and a HP for chilly Orkney summer evenings and cold winters. A belter!

90/100!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

CLYNELISH 1989 - SCOTCH SINGLE MALT CIRCLE

A quick and dirty review today from one of my favourite distilleries...

Clynelish 1989 22yo (07.06.1989/13.02.2013) 51,8%, ex-bourbon hogshead#3843, 186 bottles, Scotch Single Malt Circle

Colour is full straw

Nose:
Fruity and an oaky nip initially, apple and waxy. Also a lovely barley infused sweetness here - like nosing a sugar covered breakfast cereal, vanilla honey and some more of that spicyness from the oak.

Taste:
Spicy oak again on arrival, even a bit drying. Then some white fruit, mainly on juicy yeallow apples. The slight hints of something gingery and honeyed, but I'd rather say it goes towards a more heavy syrupy style. Mid to end palate gives away to a floral note, crisp oak and peppery finish.

This has an oaky nip to it than put it a bit off balance, IMO... still good though!

Thanks to RM for the sample!

86/100!