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.

Monday, 31 August 2015


A week and a half ago, I hosted an Arran tasting in the local club.

It was a tasting brought on mostly by the fact that I stumbled across an absolutely stellar 18yo Arran by indie bottler Morrison Mackay in their Carn Mor-series at a tasting with Peter Mackay during the Spirit of Speyside Festival in May this year. It was then further sparked by my second visit to the Arran distillery later on the same trip where some distillery exclusive bottlings convinced me it was time to have a good hard look at what the Arran Malt has become... 

We started with the standard 14yo...

The complete tasting lineup © The Malt Desk August 20th 2015

The Arran Malt 14yo, 46% Distillery bottling

Colour is white wine

Sweet garden fruit and vanilla. Hint of raspberry, lots of honeyed malt and a hit of spicy oak. After a short while the spicyness becomes more dominant but never spoils the party

Malt and apple, apple and malt, followed by spicy ginger notes, all delivered by a quite oily spirit. Some vanilla sweetness rushes in along with some lemon and peppery notes.

A very straight forward and honest dram on the oily and slightly side.
The combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks works quite well here, but I'd still not recommend this as a first buy to a whisky newbie... maybe as a bottle no. 3 or 4 when you've had a couple under the belt!

Nice stuff, for sure!


Wednesday, 19 August 2015


Like the distillery in my previous review (Miltonduff) Glenburgie is a major contributor to the Ballantine's Blend - in fact so much that the owners has named it 'Home of Ballantine's'. Other major malt contributors to Ballantine's, BTW, are as mentioned Miltonduff, along with Glentauchers -also in Speyside- and Scapa Distillery on Orkney. 

As with Miltonduff, you often have to look to the indie bottlers to find a Glenburgie, but again Chivas Bros has done us a favour and bottled one in their Cask Strength Edition-series...

The Glenburgie Stills - Thanks to Bruce Crichton for the use of the picture

Glenburgie 1994 20yo (20.06.1994/05.08.2014) 50,7%, Batch#GB20006, Chivas Bros Cask Strength Edition, 50cl bottle

Colour is white wine

A bit restrained and spirity at first, but it opens up after a few minutes in the glass and gives off notes of soft fruit (apples and a little peach mostly), hints of coconut and a handsome dose of vanilla and sweet malt and some crushed red berries and a little nipping oak.

A good malty backbone wrapped in fruit, both a citrus and apple/pear style fruitiness. It has a slight waxy mouth feel with honey and hints of tinned pineapple. The finish gets slightly ginger- and peppery. Some good middle-of-the-road flavours takes this a long way without straying in any strange direction at any point. I see why this is a blenders favourite - this may even make it to be someones malt favourite!

Finally, thanks to Kalle for the sample


Wednesday, 12 August 2015


A few miles south west of Elgin in Speyside, we find the Miltonduff Distillery.
Built on the site of an old Benedictine Abbey, its a huge distillery with 16 washbacks and 6 stills and an output of close to 6 million liters of spirit annually.

Miltonduff is one of the cornerstones in the Ballantines Blend. As a single malt, you have to seek out independent bottlings as official ones are few and far between until owners, Chivas Bros/Pernod Ricard decided to include it in their Cask Strength Edition series - so let's give this one a try...

Miltonduff Distillery - picture from Wikimedia Commons

Miltonduff 1998 16yo (06.03.1997/06.08.2014) 52,9%, Batch#MD16004, Chivas Bros Cask Strength Edition, 50cl bottle

Colour is white wine

Comes across a bit hot on the nose, but there's also herbs, malt and apple appears there. Short after it gets very grassy and shows hints of pineapple as well...

As on the nose its really hot on the palate, not 52,9% hot but another kinda hot, like a spirit cut that's run a bit off... Some pear and vanilla, a green note like biting into a straws of grass. Besides the already mentioned hot notes, it also delivers some else that I can only describe as a mild chili burn along with black pepper.

My palate is not agreeing with this one. It was to hot and I'm thinking it keeps the other notes down, not allowing this one even the slightest chance to shine. It can, however be drunk with a good splash of water - so its not all a waste.

A partial dud, IMO

Finally, thanks to Kalle for the sample


Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Tormore Distillery, located right on the A95 road, is an impressive sight no matter from what direction you approach it. Its big, cathedral-like and has a large front garden with bushes cut in the shape of stills. But there are a lot of pretty distilleries in Scotland and also ones making more noise about themselves than Tormore does. So are this malt best off living a quiet life or can Tormore play with the big boys?

The impressive looking Tormore Distillery, October 17th 2014 © The Malt Desk

Tormore 1998 15yo (20.07.1998/19.06.2014) 57,4% Batch#TM001, Chivas Bros Cask Strength Edition

Colour is straw

A variety of garden fruit and malt, warm apple pie,  and a vague hint of varnish. Green pesto, bread croutons and vague hints of curry, add to that some vanilla and grassy notes - a pretty much straight forward Speyside style. Do I detect notes of elderberry and cantaloupe in here as well?? The alcohol shows itself a bit but calms down with a few drops of water. This also brings out some lemon peel and herbal notes

A malty and fruity floral theme comes out straight away. Also quite the spice, ginger and peppers. Pears are in here for sure along with sweet almonds. The fruits notes turn more tropical over time with honey melon and mango. The whole thing finishes of with a rush of thick malt and just a little oak.

Can this play along? yes, it certainly can! its a dram on the sweet side, yes, but an amazing nose and lovely malty finish takes this one a long way...

Good stuff!

Finally, thanks to Kalle for the sample!