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Glengoyne 1971/1998 (56.2%, OB, C#4855, 588 Bts.)
Craig Daniels, I tasted this one in 2000 and retasted in October 2016. Always thought that Cask#583 was the pick of them, but I've changed my mind. Just about perfect although it doesn't take water well.
Cu Dhub (40%, OB, Speyside Distillery)
Craig Daniels, Nose: caramel and a hint of mint, some bitter herbs (rocket and endive). Palate: thin, sweet and herbal. Lacks any grip. Finish; surprisingly short; herbal with wood bitters. Comment: chock-a-block with spirit caramel but otherwise pretty inoffensive. Not the worst whisky I've ever tasted, but not a good one either.
Glenfiddich 1974/2001 'Private Vintage' (47.7%, OB for Ian Simpson & John McAskil, Fenton Tower, C#38231, 231 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden color, vanilla, ripe apple, pine apple, banana, peach, citrus. quite oil, medium body, medium finish, very good structure.
Bowmore 44yo 1964/2009 'Gold Bowmore' (42.4%, OB, 701 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden color, beautiful floral note, clear and standard old Bowmore house style. quote elegant and extremely attractive. light soapy note. light peat. Medium light body. creaming and very oil, very nice palate. finished long and lingering. slightly salty in palate. One of the best Bowmore I've been tasted. still lively. Very enjoyable one.
Glenmorangie 1993/2012 'Ealanta' (46%, OB, American White Oak Heavily Charred,)
Craig Daniels, Nose: lots of freshly milled timber (cedar and pine), then vanilla bean and a lot of honey; hints of orange and grapefruit. Palate: creamy, fruity sweet and quite rich Finish; creamy with a oak reprise. Comment: Nose starts off overpowered by oak but settles down and becomes much more refined. Rest of package is sophisticated, refined and very moreish.
Glenmorangie 18yo 'Extremely Rare' (43%, OB, 2010*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: takes a while to open up but has lovely green apple and grapefruit plus a little passionfruit. Palate: Malty, fruity sweet and refined. Finish; Long, initially sweet but dries out with some fruit bitters. Comment: seriously sophisticated whisky.
Bunnahabhain 40yo (41.7%, OB, 750 Bts., 70cl, 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright amber - Nose: Rich honey, candied lemon zest, custard, hints of polished wood and ginger, fresh mint. - Palate: Lighter honey, vanilla, ripe banana, After Eight mints, creme brulee, hints of nutmeg. - Finish: Long, fruity and slightly spicy, minimally bitter. - Overall: This oldie has a very rich nose, but it is surprisingly light and fragrant on the palate. Only the price of almost £2000 is a wee bit steep.
Oban 12yo (43%, OB, Unblended Highland Malt, John Hopkins & Co, Pear Shaped Bottle, 75cl)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright amber - Nose: Raisins, madeira, honey, hints of rubber, orange zest, hints of nutmeg. - Palate: Minimal smoke, raisins, dried apricots, vanilla, caramel, hints of mutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: A very gentle but also very refined dram with that old fashioned “they don’t make them like this anymore” taste profile.
Hazelburn 12yo (46%, OB, 70cl, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Sherry and little bit of peat, lots of light toffee (jersey caramel). Palate; More sherry with roasted nuts and some dried apricots. Finish: Peanut skins and orange rind. Comment: Tasted blind 20 November 2013. Thought it was a commercial Speyside.
Tomatin 17yo 1989/2006 (56.4%, Cadenhead's)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Bubblegum, juicy fruit chewing gum, paint thinners, orange and tea tannins, almonds and treacle. Palate: Bitter orange and roasted nuts, some burnt notes. Finish: more bitters and some metallic notes. Fades with lingering metal. Comment; subdued alcohol and too bitter and short in the finish. Nose and early palate are better than the late palate and finish.
Benromach 10yo (43%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: some florals (freesias and frangipani) and some honey, then deepens into honeycomb, some earthy peat and some smoke. Like Highland Park but without the depth. Palate; sweet and honeyed, smoke in the tail, slightly dirty, burnt honeycomb. Finish: smoke and ashes, some fruit bitters, a tiny touch of burnt honeycomb and beer can metal. Comment: Maybe this is a whisky I just don't "get". I don't think the fairly minimal amount of peat adds much, maybe justs muddies the underlying Speyside sweetness. There were 11 people who tasted this blind in September 2013 and the scores ranged from 77 to 84.
Benromach 10yo (43%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: some florals (freesias and frangipani) and some honey, then deepend into honeycomb, some earthy peat and some smoke. Like Highland Park but without the depth. Palate; sweet and honeyed, smoke in the tail, slightly dirty, burnt honeycomb. Finish: smoke and ashes, some fruit bitters, a tiny touch of burnt honeycomb and beer can metal. Comment: Maybe this is a whisky I just don't "get". I don't think the fairly minimal amount of peat adds much, maybe justs muddies the underlying Speyside sweetness. There were 11 people who tasted this blind in September 2013 and the scores ranged from 77 to 84.
Macallan 'Estate Reserve' (45.7%, OB, '1824 Collection', 2009)
Ho-cheng Yao, Quite sweet, heavy sherry, need sometime to open, actually better with some ice.
Singleton of Glen Ord 12yo (40%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Retasted 23 October 2013, score changed from 81 to 82. Nose: Sugared almonds, peanut brittle and some sweet, oily herby notes like in hand lotion. Palate: nutty, dry sherry, with a discernible touch of aspirin residue. Finish: wood bitters and toffee, some liquorice. Comment: It's a lively nose and the rest is good. I think the best descriptor is 'well integrated' and I know it's a Highland but I think it's more often identified as a Speyside, when tasted blind. The sherry treatment is subtle, but definitley discernible, especially in the palate. Pretty decent whisky.
Glengoyne 17yo (43%, OB, +/-2008)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Yo-Yo Honey biscuits, Violet Crumble (honeycomb confectionery), marzipan and candied citrus, some fruit bitters. Palate: grapefruit and citron marmalade, lots of malt with sweet pastry dough and then wood bitters and a candied citrus peel reprise. Finish: Sour fruit, wax, warming alcohol and wood bitters. Comment: not a big whisky and a bit shy to start but gets better in the glass and I like the way citron/marmalade/grapefruit notes last all the way through to the fruit bitters finish. This is sophisticated malt whisky.
Macallan 10yo (40%, OB, 2009*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: sweet, red berry fruit, christmas cake, nutmeg, toffee apple, talcum powder, oloroso sherry, some liquorice, apple compote and icing sugar. Gets lighter, less complex and somewhat watery over time. Palate: toffee, caramel, sour plums, varnish and cream, some sultana and verjuice. Finish: varnish, fruit syrup, burnt nuts with aspirin after 20 minutes. Comment: Starts lively, well rounded and impressive but just becomes more sugary and less complex over time. The sherry is relatively lightweight and the malt just doesn't sing in a deep enough or sustained register to be a 'true' Macallan. The red apple is reminiscent of young Aberlour.
Nikka 12yo 'Taketsuru' (40%, OB, pure malt, 2008*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Sweet, subtle bananas, sultanas and silky polished oak. Hints of sandalwood and incense. Palate: Soft, smooth, classy and fruity (dates and sultanas). Finish: Stewed fruit and oak. Classy but short. Comment: Very well crafted whisky, good balance but lacking a bit of grunt in the palate and a surprisingly abrupt finish. Would be much more impressive at 45% abv.
Imperial 16yo 1995/2012 (53.8%, Duncan Taylor Dimensions, C#50055, 278 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, Lot's vanilla, sweet, orange. comparing rich and creaming. very creamy. like cake. dilute get more tropical fruit and berry note. nice.
Laphroaig 30yo 1966/1996 (48.9%, Signatory Vintage, Dis. 02/'66, Btl. 06/'96, C#561, 142 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, quite clear color. Peaty, herbal, citrus, pear, quite woody, mild and elegant, medium finish. quite nice palate. keep you drinking. It's hard to believe an Laphroaig with so elegant yet very peaty performance.
Glenfiddich 35yo 1965 'Vintage Reserve' (47.8%, OB, C#10837, 2000*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, quite refreshing fruity note, pear, citrus, green apple, slightly mango and banana, with a hint of spice, Very clear house style at excellent good condition. Medium light body, medium finish. Quite powerful, some attack at the palate. Very enjoyable one.
Laphroaig 'QA CASK' (40%, OB for Travel Retail Exclusive, NAS, double matured, 1000ml, 2013*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, quite peaty, grassy, minty, easy going, some smokiness, good, Not the best Laphroaig, but no complain and easy drinking one.
Highland Park 21yo 1989 '4.145' (52%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 'San dunes and heather moorland', Refill Hoghead, D5/'89, 245 Bts., 2010)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, quite nutty, fruity and floral, sweet, and not that HP.
An Cnoc 22yo (46%, OB, 2013*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Stewed apples, raisins, grapefruit, toasted nuts, polished wood, very light caramel, hints of ginger and pepper. - Palate: Light honey, dried apple chips, raisins, hints of Earl Grey tea, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: It still has the lightness Knockdhu is known for, but the long time in the casks have also given it a nice richness not seen in their younger bottlings.
Highland Park 18yo (43%, OB, UK, 2010*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Honey, cold fireplaces, cigarette ash, dried pears, smoked fruit, more smokey honey. Palate: sweet, rich, vine cane sappiness, medicinal (iodine and sterile bandages) with lots of burnt leafiness. Finish; Long,warm and ashy, lingering ashiness. Comment: Lovely combination of peat and sherry - echoes of Bowmore but with deeper sherry.
Glenturret 34yo (47.6%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#2, 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Medium amber - Nose: Stewed apples, melon, toasted hazelnuts, vanilla, polished wood, hints of nutmeg. - Palate: Honey, stewed apples, ripe banana, vanilla, hints of buterscotch and nuts, hints of nutmeg and cardamom. - Finish: Long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: A very well-balanced fruity dram with no disturbing notes. It does not take much water, though.
Glen Grant 37yo 1974/2012 (49.3%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#7646)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright copper - Nose: Prunes, orange marmalade, marzipan, old oak, hints of cinnamon and cocoa. - Palate: Prunes, dates, orange zest, espresso, sweet toffee, cinnamon, hints of nutmeg. - Finish: Long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: On one hand this is a very nice whisky with no real flaws, on the other hand I would have expected a bit more from a whisky of that age. The palate feels a bit unbalanced.
Balvenie 'Tun 1401 Batch #5' (50.1%, OB, NAS, 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Prunes, raisins, toffee, polished wood, hints of soy sauce and nutmeg. - Palate: Sweet raisins, dried figs, baba au rhum, caramel, toasted nuts, mixed gentle oriental spices. - Finish: Rather long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: A very enjoyable whisky with many interesting flavours to explore, one the finish could be a bit longer.
Aberlour 12yo (48%, OB, 2012*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Medium amber - Nose: Stewed apples, raisins, hints of raspberries, light caramel and nutmeg. - Palate: Red berries with whipped cream, raisins, prunes, fudge, marzipan, hints of nutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and slighly spicy. - Overall: This is a very decent daily dram with nice rich flavours though it is not not overly complex.
Aberlour 'A'Bunadh Batch #39' (59.8%, OB, NAS, 2011*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright copper - Nose: Prunes, figs, almonds, tobacco, dark chocolate, hints of cinnamon and dusty oak. - Palate: Prunes, mixed dried fruit, toffee, dark chocolate, cinnamon and hints of pepper. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and slighly spicy. - Overall: Very nice on nose and palate but not quite on eye level with other batches, especially the finish.
Linkwood 1991/2012 (46%, Jean Boyer Best Casks of Scotland, first fill sherry)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright copper - Nose: Strawberry jam, dried figs, raisins, milk chocolate, hints of cinnamon. - Palate: Strawberries, cherries, figs, cocoa, hints of epsresso, cinnamon and pepper. - Finish: Rather long, fruity and slighly spicy. - Overall: A very fine dram where the sherry is well present but does not overwhelm the spirit.
Glengoyne 1972/2012 (55.5%, Malts of Scotland, Sherry Hogshead, D:9/'72 B:9/'12, C#MoS12044, 254 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Chestnut - Nose: Ripe dark berries, sandalwood, hints of cigar tobacoo and leather, some cardamom and burnt sugar. - Palate: Forest berry compote, orange zest, prunes, strong rancio notes, minimal hints of beef stock, cardamom, nutmeg and allspice. - Finish: Very long, very fruity and very slightly spicy. - Overall: The tasting notes just scratch the surface, there are layers upon layers of aromas and flavours in this fantastic old whisky.
Ben Nevis 1995/2012 (46%, Jean Boyer One Shot, first fill sherry)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark gold - Nose: Raisins, toffee, Black Forest cake, butterscotch, hints of polished wood and cardamom. - Palate: Rum-soaked raisins, plum compote, sweet melons, caramel, hints of cinnamon and cardamom. - Finish: Long, fruity and slighly spicy. - Overall: The sherry influence is not very obvious here, it’s simply a very good fruity whisky with a nice unbostrusive sweetness.
Edradour 18yo 1993/2012 (59%, OB, D17/8/'93 B23/4/'12, first fill oloroso sherry butt, 599 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark chestnut - Nose: Prunes in marzipan, cocoa, hints of balsamic vinegar, leather, hints of cinnamon. - Palate: Prunes, blackberries, chocolate cake, coffee, hints of balsamic vinegar and cinnamon. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and slighly spicy. - Overall: A very nice richly sherried expression with many interesting flavours albeit falling behind a bit in the finish.
Edradour 2003/2012 (46%, OB, ruby port cask, batch 1, 3400 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Reddish amber - Nose: Sour cherry juice, baby vomit, raspberry sherbet powder. - Palate: That sour cherry juice again, slighty bitter tea, caramel, hints of cinnamon and pepper. - Finish: Rather short, fruity and slighlty bitter. - Overall: The tasting notes may read worse than the whisky actually is, but this is just too immature and drowned by the wine.
Lark 'Cask Strength' (58%, OB, NAS, C#205, 2011)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Caramel, vanilla, hints of dried apricots, rather shy even with water. - Palate: Caramelized aprictos, orange zest, vanilla, ginger, eucalyptus, hints of freshly ground pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: This single malt almost feels like a grain whisky. While the nose is not very exciting, the palate is full flavoured and delicious.
Glenlochy 31yo 1980/2012 (53.1%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, D21/10/'80 B11/1/'12, hogshead, C#3021, 164 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark gold - Nose: Honey, apples, banana, polished wood, candied ginger, hints of nutmeg. - Palate: Lightly floral honey, stewed apples, vanilla, hints of walnut, ginger, nutmeg and a little pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: The slightly waxy mouthfeel works very well together with a classic and well-balanced flavour profile.
Tormore 1988/2012 (55.4%, Malts of Scotland, D9/'88 B9/'12, sherry butt, C#MoS 12043, 524 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright copper - Nose: Orange zest, dried apricots, marzipan, toffee, waxed leather, hints of tobacco, cinnamon and nutmeg. - Palate: Chocolate cake with candied orange zest, coffee, dark chocolate, cinnamon and allspice. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: While the nose is sublime, palate and finish feel a bit weaker, but all on a fairly high level to be fair.
Ballechin '#7' (46%, OB, NAS, Bordeaux Hogshead, 6000 Bts., 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark reddish amber - Nose: Smoked ham, red wine, cherries, cassis, liquorice, slightly leafy farmyard whiffs. - Palate: Peated cherries, blackberries, caramel, hints of Lapsang Souchong tea, cloves and hints of pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and smoky. - Overall: Edradour is infamous for wine cask experiments with very mixed outcome, but this peated expression hits the spot.
Laphroaig 15yo 1996/2012 (51.2%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, D26/11/'96 B11/6/'12, hogshead, C#8510, 297 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Pale straw - Nose: Ashy smoke, banana, lemon zest, vanilla, liquorice, faint hints of petrol. - Palate: Medium peat, banana, hints of pineapple, vanilla, liquorice, hints of green tea and pepper. - Finish: Long, dry and smoky. - Overall: Not the phenolic bomb you might expect from Laphroaig, this dram is quite crisp and clean with a nice light fruitiness.
Laphroaig 1996/2012 (56.1%, Malts of Scotland, D6/'96 B9/'12, sherry hogshead, C#MoS 12041, 240 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Very dark amber - Nose: Light wood smoke, hints of smoked bacon, orange zest, tobacco, leather, nutmeg and cumin. - Palate: Stronger peat than the nose suggests, bacon-wrapped orange wedges, figs, toffee, tea, nutmrg and cumin agin. - Finish: Very long, fruity, dry and smoky. - Overall: It needs some time to build up and benefits from a good splash of water, this fantastic whisky has the perfect balance of sherry and peat, maturity and freshness.
Lark 'Single Cask' (43%, OB, NAS, port cask, C#202, 2011)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Cassis, cherries, orange zest, fudge, hints of sage and pepper. - Palate: Dried apricots, sweet cherries, orange zest, butterscotch, hints of mixed savoury herbs. - Finish: Long, fruity, dry and slightly spicy. - Overall: This is not immediately recognizable as a port cask, and the light savoury element gives it a special touch. Very nice indeed.
Glenlivet 30yo 1981/2012 (53.4%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, D5/11/'81 B28/2/'12, sherry hogshead, C#9457, 186 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Copper - Nose: Red currant jam, cherries, marzipan, treacle, leather, cinnamon and hints of cloves. - Palate: Cassis, cherries, tea, caramel, slight hints of mature cheese, cinnamon and pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: A wonderful dram with the wood kept in balance by the lovely fruit and spice aromas. The nose is to die for.
Kavalan 'Solist' (56.3%, OB for Taiwan SMWTA, NAS, bourbon cask, C#R061113061, 170 Bts., 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Medium amber - Nose: Mango, papaya, dark caramel, freshly cut wood, vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, hints of eucalyptus and pepper. - Palate: Mango, papaya, hints of banana, vanilla, mixed oriental spices, black pepper and hints of chili. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: Overall this is a very good whisky with nice tropical fruit aromas, but the spices on the palate are quite intensive.
Tamdhu 28yo 1984/2011 (50.3%, Exclusive Malts for Taiwan SMWTA, D12/10/'84 B11/'11, refill hogshead, C#2839, 261 Bts.)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright gold - Nose: Fresh apples, sweet melon, hints of banana, vanilla, polished wood, candied ginger and nutmeg. - Palate: Stewed apples, banana, candied pineapple, honey, vanilla, candied ginger, nutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: The strong fruit aromas are typical for Tamdhu and make this a very pleasant and sippable dram.
Yamazaki 'Puncheon' (48%, OB, NAS, 2011)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark gold - Nose: Apples, lemon, vanilla, summer flowers on a meadow, polished wood, ginger, hints of pepper. - Palate: Apples, banana, honey, butterscotch, candied ginder and hints of pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: It is interesting to note the experimental use of a bigger cask. Usually it’s the other way around. I’m not sure if anything was gained by this, but it makes for a pleasant sipping experience.
Hakushu 'Sherry Cask' (48%, OB, NAS, 2012*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark copper - Nose: Sweet cherries, prunes, toasted nuts, hints of dark chocolate and polished oak, allspice and hints of cinnamon. - Palate: Christmas pudding with brandy butter, orange zest, dark chocolate, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. - Finish: Long and fruity with dry spices. - Overall: This is a rather typical sherry bomb, hard to tell that it is from Japan. The nose beats the palate, but it is a high quality whisky overall.
Highland Park 1997/2010 'Viking Collection The Sword' (43%, OB, Exclusive to Taiwan, 75cl)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Medium amber - Nose: Toffee, honey, light smoke, mixed citrus, vanilla, sandalwood, allspice and hints of pepper. - Palate: Gentle peat, the trademark Highland Park “heather honey”, vanilla, lemon zest, banana, nutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Long, fruity and slighly smoky. - Overall: An outstanding and very typical Highland Park, the balance of flavours is just perfect. Too bad it was not bottled at cask strength.
Balvenie 'Tun 1858 Batch 1' (50.4%, OB, NAS, Taiwan exclusive, 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Bright copper - Nose: A perfect sherry nose with dried fruit, orange zest, wood notes and mild spices. - Palate: Dried apricots and figs, orange zest, toasted walnuts, dark toffee, nutmeg, black pepper, hints of cardamamom. - Finish: Very long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: One of the finest noses I have ever smelled, and the palate is almost on the same level. It is not really a sherry bomb, the whisky part is just as prominent. Not exactly cheap, though.
Bushmills 'Black Bush' (40%, OB, NAS, Irish blend, 2010*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Medium amber - Nose: Raisins, caramel, dried apricots, wood polish, vanilla, hints of nutmeg. - Palate: Very much matching the nose, hints of toasted nuts and pepper join in. - Finish: Medium long, slightly fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: A decent daily dram, not more and not less. It feels a bit more like a Scotch blend than an Irish.
Auchentoshan 'Three Wood' (43%, OB, NAS, 700ml, 2012*)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Cherries, strawberries, raisins, marzipan, sticky toffee, hints of polished wood and cinnamon. - Palate: Sweet raisins, mixed berries, vanilla fudge, treacle, hints of bitter almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and slightly spicy. - Overall: The sweetness of this dram is almost too heavy, but the wood spices keep it in balance. The nose is very nice, the finish a bit short.
Balvenie 17yo 'Doublewood' (43%, OB, 2012)
Oliver Klimek, Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Rum-soaked raisins, bananas, honey, toasted nuts, toffee, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. - Palate: Raisins, dried apricots, hints of grapefruit, toasted hazelnuts, caramel, candied ginger, nutmeg and pepper. - Finish: Medium long, fruity and spicy. - Overall: While having a superb nose, this older Doublewood version does not quite reach the quality of the almost legendary 12 year old. But go for it, if you like spicy drams.
Bowmore 12yo (40%, OB, 2010*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Smoked honey, whiff of burning canes, tiny bit of sap, toffee and malt Palate: more smoke and more honey/syrup, nice mouthfeel Finish; malt, peat, honey and grapefruit bitters. Comment; Reminiscent of better Bowmores around in the 1990s. Pretty classy.
Bowmore 12yo (40%, OB, 2010*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Smoked honey, whiff of burning canes, tiny bit of sap, toffee and malt Palate: more smoke and more honey/syrup, nice mouthfeel Finish; malt, peat, honey and grapefruit bitters. Comment; Reminiscent of better Bowmores around in the 1990s. Pretty classy.
Laphroaig 10yo (43%, OB, +/-2009)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Irish moss cough lozenges, burning vine cane smoke, sweet peat and 'green' characters. Palate: sweet and smoky tar, creaming soda. Finish: long warming and suprisingly smooth. Comment: this is not an extreme Islay; it's actually a subtle and sophisticated Islay.
Laphroaig 18yo (48%, OB, 2011*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Big and leafy, lots of coal smoke and tar, lots of vine-cane sap and moss/ferns. Palate; big and smoky more of that typical green/leafy character. Warm but the high ABV never gets hot or spiky. Finish: long and firm and smoky. Comment; I was expecting more sophistication and subtlety but this is curiously uncompromising and even more stridently Islay than the 10yo.
Talisker 10yo (45.8%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Fresher and fruitier than I was expecting, still has the leather and smoked fruit. Palate; sweet and smokey, leather and a little bit of tar. Finish: long, warm and smoky, then the tar and leather kick in. A bit sweeter and a bit more livley than other recent releases.
Scapa 16yo (40%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: light, green malt with floral notes. Nice maltiness, very clean bourbon wood. Palate; thicker and more presence than the nose would suggest, pear syrup. Finish; long, sweet and malty with a slight bitter tail. Comment I like them clean and fresh.
Balvenie 17yo 'Doublewood' (43%, OB, 2012)
Craig Daniels, Nose: dark fruit jam (plum and blackberry), cocoa, chocolate and carob. Tends to get more toffee over time Palate: sweet toffee, dark chocolate and slightly smoky, slightly burnt. Finish: warm and woody, nutty and slightly astringent.
Longmorn 16yo (48%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose; light meadow flowers, thin honey and choux pastry. Plenty of malt character. Over time the honey notes get stronger, deeper and dirtier with burnt sugar, old hay and wet straw. Palate: sweet and hot, (hotter than it should be for 16 years in wood). Finish: long, warm and sweet then slightly astringent with wood bitters. Comment; nice if you get the experience over within five minutes, nowhere near as attractive over 20-30 minutes in the glass.
Mortlach 22yo 1990/2013 (54.4%, Hart Brothers, 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Dark brown color, very standard Mortlach, I got it right in a blind tasting without any hint. Sulfury, meaty, powerful sherry cask, quite chewing in palate. a nice dram.
Chichibu 2009/2013 'Port Pipe' (54.5%, OB, 4200 Bts., 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Quite dark in color, robust with lots wine influence. Lots tannin attack in the palate. Kind of un-balanced but still nice dramming. I think the cask is too active, even Chichibu is good to matured new and active casks, Port Pipe might not be good for whole maturation.
Bunnahabhain 'Sgeul Na Mara' (60.1%, OB for Feis Ila 2013, Sherry Butt, Distilling year 2003 was shown on the tube, not on the label, C#79, 606 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, it was quite a surprise to see this light color coming from a sherry butt. Quite robust when it was just open, lots wood attack with some tropical fruit nose. Candy sweet comes together some malty and cookie nose. It turns out better after one or two hours later and refill quite some salty flavor in the finish. Quite nice and easy going as a 10yo malt. quite solid body and good finish.
Inchgower 19yo 1985 (56.0%, Adelphi, C#5676, 750ml, 2004*)
Rich Howard, what a lovely nose... fresh berries and cream, blueberry scone barely dusted with powdered sugar, gentle coastal notes of sea air, the tiniest dash of sea salt. the palate is quite brisk, very dense, with fresh fruits, ginger ale, gently toasted oak, hints of fresh natural cigar wrapper. a few drops of water diminishes the berries and fruit, adds a slight chalkiness of baking powder, still some fresh, plain scone. the palate is still quite nice, with spicy fruits and toasted oak. still, it's beautiful right out of the bottle. i liked it better unreduced.
Balblair 20yo 1990/2010 (50%, Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask, Refill Sherry Butt, C#6340, 637 Bts., 700ml)
Rich Howard, the nose has hints of lime zest, ginger, ripe pineapple, a dash of honey, and the essence of oatmeal cookies (i.e., not sweet), coconut oil. the palate follows suit with ginger and pineapple, an herbal sweetness (stevia), subtle wheat grass. with two drops of water, the nose now has a dash of powdered sugar, still some light pineapple and coconut oil, hints of parmesan cheese. the palate is much sweeter now, slightly sweetened lime juice, ginger candy... quite an interesting combination of ginger and lime. extra points for a unique profile.
Knockando 25yo (43%, OB, European oak, 4758 Bts., 2011)
Rich Howard, immediately on concord grape jam, a couple fresh strawberries tossed in, the lightest of seville orange citrus, all followed by a handful of dry twigs. the palate is brisk and tangy, with dark fruit punch over hints of caramel custard and jasmine tea, a unique combination. the wood influence is tannic; the dram is very spicy, but not oaky at all. a drop of water adds warms and complexity to the nose, the jam turns to a dark fruit compote, and the creme caramel notes are present now, slightly more wood influence, and with time some herbal notes appear. the palate is mostly diffuse now, still hints of fruit punch, but much heavier on the tannic spices now, and now the oak is present as well. unreduced, it's a pleasant dram... a bit too diffuse and boisterous with water.
Bowmore 'Springtide' (54.9%, OB, NAS, matured in Oloroso Sherry casks, 700ml, 2012*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Dark brown, tropical fruit, first impression is not really that peaty as you expected, but quite some fruity nose. than lot's flora note comes out, with a hint of sea breeze. Malty sweet combines with lot's earthy note comes later. The palate is so strong, with lots peaty faint nose, very earthy one. a strong yet very drinkable one.
The English Whisky Co. 'Whisky Live Taipei 2013' (50.6%, OB, Distilled at St. George Distillery)
Ho-cheng Yao, Said to be only 192 bts. from a bourbon barrel, it's actually a heavy peated version. Yellow water, err peated and very fruity, with lots of apple, citrus, cake, candy orange, some herbal comes out later, slightly mango, very nice nose, kind of simple palate and short finish. A very nice selection as s 4 yos one. Dilute wit water would brings out more finish. Nice selection. I want one.
Bruichladdich 1970/2001 'Valinch I was there' (47.3%, OB, C#5085, 250 Bts., D12/'70 B05/'01)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, great rich honey nose, full of flower. ripe apple and pear, sweet malty nose, medium full body. lingering finish with a touch of wood attach. Very nice and truly the golden year of Bruichladdich. I wish I was there.
Highland Park 10yo 'Ambassador's Choice' (46%, OB, 2013)
Robert Karlsson, A thick rather buttery oily nose, distinctly smokey. Below this more astringent on slight citrusy notes, young peaches (?), hints of christmas spices amongst green pears. Quite compact and enjoyable. Tastewise in balance, big on peat, slightly earthy even, citrusy aftertaste. Hints of tobacco in there. Thick oily mouthfeel. Spicy, lively. Islay light-style. Uncomplicated and enjoyable.
Kavalan 'Solist' (56.3%, OB for Taiwan SMWTA, NAS, bourbon cask, C#R061113061, 170 Bts., 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass; Classic Malt - Colour; Rich golden with a touch of brass - Nose: Lots of very aromatic sauna (lightly scorched wood) with lots of accompanying oils on stones. In fact it's very gentle and very aromatic with that light woodiness and settles down beautifully with more time in the glass. - Palate: delightfully fruity explosion with a light fruit cocktail and vanilla which soon turns quite tingly (black pepperiness?) as a suggestion of red berries develops. - Finish; Very long with a tingly fruitiness. - Overall Impression: A quite gently civilised nose gives way to a positively fruity explosion on the palate. It's good, very good and yet another brilliant offering from Kavalan.
Chichibu 2008/2011 'The First' (61.8%, OB, 7400 Bts., 700ml)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: 9ct yellow gold - Nose: This immediately offers a fruity, slightly leathery marshmallow character with the leatheriness gently expanding over time. - Palate: Now this packs a tingly but creamy punch which just screams "jam roly-poly with custard" at me in a really nicely perfumed way. - Finish: Long and tingly. - Overall Impression: This has been a long awaited release in the whisky world and what a cracker it is too. It's extremely difficult to believe this whisky is only three years old with it's generally light character but also displaying intense fruity vanilla characteristics. I'm most certainly looking forward to "The Second".
Yoichi 1989/2012 (60%, OB for LMDW, D12/2/'89 B3/7/'12, recharged hogshead, C#202393, 148 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Amber - Nose: Oh wow, excuse me for a minute whilst I experience another of my youthful flashbacks ...... no, it's not rude although it does involve a sauna .... Harrogate some 32-35 years ago when I and a group of friends visited the old Roman Baths on Sunday mornings. They had been converted to a sauna and steam rooms and gave a welcome weekend respite. So, why the flashback? Well, my first thought on nosing this Yoichi was "sauna" as it offers a warmth alongside lightly scorched woodiness and a slightly antiseptic 'something', again reminding me of oils like euchalyptus which are also typically used in a sauna. This is good, very good. - Palate: Gently warming with what seems like a light earthiness or even peatiness before it suddenly intensifies with a veritable explosion to offer big fruity earthiness / peatiness. - Finish: Very long, fruity and earthy. - Overall Impression: This Yoichi 1989 for LMDW is stunning and bordering on my personal scale of greatness (90+ pts), but just not quite. The nose hardly betrayed the marvellous earthy peatiness that the palate would offer. It's a whisky of great depth and I loved the flashback to those halcyon days in Harrogate which was a true bonus.
Yamazaki 'Puncheon' (48%, OB, NAS, 2011)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: 21ct yellow gold - Nose: Furniture polish with hints of cardboard may not sound too good, but this is what the nose intiially offers and no, it's much better than it sounds. This is followed by a slightly bitter vanilla-iness and eventuially crème caramel which expands further with more time in the glass. - Palate: This offers a smooth, almost leafy-like fruitiness which just gently expands across the palate with a warming tingle. - Finish: Long, almost very long with more of that warming tingle. - Overall Impression: The Yamazaki Puncheon has a nose which initially suggests mediocrity but soon intensifies and the palate is even better so, overall a very good whisky and certainly well recommendable.
Yamazaki 'Bourbon Barrel' (48%, OB, NAS, 2011*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich golden - Nose: Immediately offers a lightly scorched fruitiness. Scorched as in gently toasted bread over an open log fire and the fruitiness of heated raspberries and apricots with hints of vanilla suggesting "served on ice cream". - Palate: Soft, gentle, smooth and really quite warming with a fruitiness now suggesting apricot and peach with some butterscotch in the background. Comfort food. - Finish: Long and warming with suggestions of vanilla. - Overall Impression: I love the gently scorched or lightly toasted fruitiness. It's another lighter whisky with some excellent fruitiness.
Hakushu 'Sherry Cask' (48%, OB, NAS, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Not far removed from ebony - Nose: Now this is rich, starting with a colour not far removed from ebony to the suggestions of antique oak and leather immediately predominant on the nose. There's even a slight suggestion of wood smoke in the background whilst retaining a surprising freshness and clarity. With time in the glass an almost, but not quite, perfumed character develops. Wonderful indeed so far. - Palate: It positively explodes with big, rich, bold, even extravagant rich dark fruitiness accompanied by toasted coconut macaroons dipped in milk chocolate - Finish: Let's say all of the nose and palate in a delightfully never-ending way. - Overall Impression: What a star it is too. Big, bold, massively extravagant and yet with an underlying lightly perfumed character alongside the rich leatheriness and fruitiness on the nose. The toasted coconut macaroon effect was a delight which immediately transported me to Alsace. Meanwhile, did I just use that word "Great" it certainly is.
Hakushu 'Heavily Peated' (48%, OB, NAS, 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Pale yellow - Nose: This offers some lovely, very mildly floral and perfumed aromas. I'm reminded of a wild Alpine meadow in early summer but there's also some obvious wood influence without being overly oaky. Maybe this is a little more earthy peatiness, but so far it's more a gentle giant than a peat monster. - Palate: Has a very creamy mouth-feel and is much bigger than the nose as it intensifies across the palate with a very nice floral fruitiness. - Finish: Very long, floral and very nice. - Overall Impression: I found more intense but light floral and perfumed notes than heavy peat, although it did offer an earthiness too. This isn't bad, in fact it's a very good whisky especially as I love that kind of character in my drams.
Lark 'Cask Strength' (58%, OB, NAS, C#205, 2011)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Light amber - Nose: Just explodes with lightly perfumed fragrances, delightfully light but very aromatic. Then a suggestion of mandarin in the background followed by the development of faint woodiness. - Palate: This is sweet, perfumed, massively intense and also including brandy snap or even butterscotch. Marvellous. - Finish: Very long and intriguing with all from the nose and palate just concentrated further. - Overall Impression: Light and extremely intense with lots of sweet exotic fruitiness. In fact it's mental, bloody marvellously mental.
Lark 'Single Cask' (43%, OB, NAS, port cask, C#202, 2011)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich golden / light amber - Nose: Offers some very aromatic grassiness, almost to the point of an Alpine spring meadow, but not quite although it does continue to expand delightfully in this direction. Eventually a hint of smokiness suggests very floral or even slightly perfumed bonfire embers. Very nice. - Palate: This also suggests perfumed grassiness but it has an extra facet of creamy fruitiness with a touch of vanilla. - Finish: Long, nay very long as it just keeps on going. - Overall Impression: Truly delightful with depths of floral aromas and grassiness which tantalise the nose and palate, I love it.
Overeem (43%, OB, NAS, Old Hobart Distillery, sherry cask, C#OHD-005, 158 Bts., 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Glowing golden - Nose: Intially expounds with aromatic fruitiness before expanding to include leafy hay or straw with hints of vanilla. It's now really quite farmy in character but in a very nice way. Yes, hay, straw, perhaps even farmyard barn and lots of fruitiness. - Palate: This really concentrates on the fruitiness with lots of peachiness and warming redcurrant alongside vanilla. - Finish: Long, gentle and mild. - Overall Impression: This is a very fruity, gentle and mild whisky. A summer delight.
Laphroaig 21yo (53.4%, OB, 1427 Bts., 2008*)
Rich Howard, the nose starts off dusty, gauze-y, with a distinct layer of sweet, powdery wood smoke, then some fresh vanilla icing, distant hints of iodine and some very subtle herbal notes. the palate is brisk, plenty of charred wood here, a spritz of iodine, seaweed snacks, quite some vanilla, with plenty of herbal smoke on the finish, almost a light puff of an infused cigar. clearly a Laphroaig, but clearly not young; the vanilla and wood tannins strike a stronger balance against the tempered smoke and iodine. with a drop of water, the nose offers a lovely dose of vanilla-infused pipe tobacco, pound cake with vanilla icing, jasmine tea and herbal peat. i'm even getting some citrus now... maybe some lime? really, really nice. the palate is even more fiery now, a heavy dose of wood smoke all but obscures additional elements of toasted oak, vanilla icing, maybe a touch of warmed caramel sauce, and herbal tea. more water makes it sweeter, smokier and more herbal. honestly, just one drop of water, and this is amazing.
Bowmore 40yo 1966/2006 (43.2%, Duncan Taylor, C#3317, 171 Bts., D05/'96 B05/'06)
Ho-cheng Yao, Brown color, apple, cinnamon, orange, beautiful floral note, quite clear Bowmore house style, violet, malty sweet. medium light body, slight soap in palate, in a good way, lingering finish. nice. Amazing good old Bowmore! Enjoy!
Johnnie Walker 18yo 'Platinum Label' (40%, OB, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: sweet, light toffee, orange blossom, cream, bananas, apples and butterscotch. Palate; sweet, a tad oily, very silky with creme caramel. Finish; light, still silky and slightly thin. Comment: Leaves the Gold Reserve in its wake. Very classy, competent and well integrated dram.
Ballantine's 17yo (43%, OB, 2011)
Craig Daniels, Pleasant, smooth, some richness on the palate but oh so bland.
Kavalan 'Solist Fino Sherry' (57%, OB, NAS, C#S 060814022, 540 Bts., 2013)
Krishna Nukala, Brilliant concoction of fruits. Lots of plum cake and Christmas cakes. Brown sugar with heavy body. Brilliant long lasting satsfying feeling. A bit expensive whisky though...tasted at LMdW Singapore
Laphroaig 21yo 1990/2011 'Specail Bottling' (57.7%, Sestante, Classical ornage old style lable, 461 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Those delicious smoke, peat and fruits on nose! You get smoked bacon gradually with black cherries. On palate there are lots of sweets and spices with dried fruits and more smoke and peat. Very chewy ending with an everlasting finish that you normally find with all classy Laphroaigs.
Samaroli Evolution (45%, OB, NAS, C#Cask no 4, 2012)
Krishna Nukala, This is difficult whisky to score. The label says it has several very old whiskies boasting of very old aged Bowmore, Ardbeg, several speysiders etc that make you think it could be an outstanding whisky. Both on nose and palate you get confused as nothing specific comes out. Over all it is good whisky to drink
White Horse 'The White Horse' (86 Pr., OB for Made for US market, NAS, Sl No 522291, Original recipe No 1746, 1935*)
Krishna Nukala, Tasted at the Auld Alliance, Singapore in June 2013. A complimentary dram by Emanual. As he says this probably is an 8 year old made during mid 1930s. On nose you get those old books and some mustiness.Very sherried with lots of dried fruits and full bodied whisky with smooth silky feeling.Very privileged to taste such an old whisky.
Glenlivet 1959/2009 (47.5%, G&M Private Collection, first fill sherry, C#148, 197 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Million Thanks to Ben for treating me this at his home. Nose- Exceedingly old style whisky, myriad of dry fruits accompanied by enjoyable wood- more like sandal wood. On palate the fruits return, mostly dried prunes, dates and raising. with little water you get those orange zests, cooked pear and brown sugar. Palate is exceedingly satisfying, very syrupy with everlasting finish. Classy stuff!
Saint Magdalene 19yo 1979/1998 (63.8%, OB Rare Malts Selection)
Krishna Nukala, Well- First of all, million thanks to Ben for treating me with this rare dram which incidentally is Johannes's favorite dram and he used to talk about a lot. Nose: First impression- Beeswax with grassy notes and peat and smoke plays a truant. Spices like cinnamon and heavy sweet notes that accompanies an old style whisky. On palate you get immediately salt licorice and my God, this has lot of depth. Add a little water and you get those lemony notes of a low lander and after some time heather and old leather. The finish is everlasting full bodied and after swallowing you make that typical sound of the tongue with palate signifying extreme satisfaction. Tremendous whisky.
Glenfiddich 18yo 'Excellence' (43%, OB, 700ml, 2000*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, lot's citrus, lemon, pine apple, mango, Like you are in tropical forest. Quite nice and elegant nose, yet the body is kind of weak and short finish. quite some drop.
Zuidam 2007/2011 (46%, Milroy's of Soho, single rye, C#448, 298 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden amber - Nose: Is this really a whisky? Yes it is indeed but a very different one as the first notes to hit the nose are those of quite herbal aniseed. This is amazingly different with lots of floral and herbal nuances, yes almost aniseed, maybe candy floss? Then something almost fruity. - Palate: No aniseed here on the palate but everything else herbal and floral transport nicely from the nose in a slightly dry way. That suggested fruitiness now develops into something akin to dates or maybe figs. - Finish: Very long with hints of dates and figs. - Overall Impression: Very different and certainly a good whisky which could be best suited as an alternative Christmas dram or certainly a winter warmer.
Kornog 'Sant Erwan' (50%, OB, NAS, Glann ar Mor distillery, France, 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass; Classic Malt - Colour; Very pale yellow - Nose: This begins with a light farminess and fruitiness but soon expands to include a fresh salty earthiness which I can only describe as "Atlantic". Very Atlantic as more time passes. - Palate: This is again more intense than the nose but also offering lots of Atlantic salty freshness alongside a distinct farminess. - Finish; Medium to long and lightly peppery. - Overall Impression: I'm not usually a fan of farmy whiskies but this tends more towards Atlantic which I do like very much. A very nice whisky then.
Kornog 'Taouarch Pevared 12BC' (46%, OB, NAS, Glann ar Mor distillery, France, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass; Classic Malt - Colour; Very pale yellow - Nose: Initially offers a very pleasant lightly perfumed or floral bouquet which intensifies and with time develops a suggestion of cardboard, rye bread dough and herbal hints of Basil and Rosemary. - Palate: This theme continues on the palate with a kind of musty, floral, cardboard-iness accompanied by the Basil & Rosemary but also including some lightly peppery raspberry. No, don't misunderstand me here with that cardboard-iness, it's not in any way bad, just diffferent and actually very pleasant. - Finish; Long with a tingly fruitiness. - Overall Impression: Cardboard, rye bread dough, musty? This all works very well, especially with the excellent fruitiness, so I have to say "this is a good whisky".
Kornog 'Taouarch an Hanv' (58.7%, OB, NAS, Glann ar Mor distillery, France, 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass; Classic Malt - Colour; Very pale yellow - Nose: My initial impression is one of lightly peated car polish applied on a sunny day or beach bonfire embers. With time a slightly bitter fruitiness develops but this is always faint and subdued, remaining more in the background. - Palate: This has a nice creamy mouth-feel and then, just like the wild penninsula it explodes initially with a leafiness, but then comes the aftershock or even an eruption of tingly pepperiness, lightly bitter fruitiness and peatiness. This certainly isn't as subdued as the nose. - Finish; Long, but reverting to a fading and subdued lightly bitter fruitiness and peatiness. - Overall Impression: A very gentle and subdued nose is followed by a veritable explosion on the palate, fading softly through the long finish.
Talisker 'Storm' (45.8%, OB, NAS, 2013*)
Craig Daniels, Nose; seaweed and bacon, very sweet malt, some aspartame and a farmyard leatheriness. Palate; smoky, leathery and very saccharine sweet. There's a disconnect between the Talisker leatheriness and an almost Speyside sweetness; almost like it was 50/50 Benromach 6 Peat Smoke and Talisker 10. The younger material is almost certainly from bourbon wood and more heavily peated than the usual Talisker.
Arran 16yo (46%, OB, 9000 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow, quite normal Arran, citrus, fruity, malty, new spirit like. toffee, vanilla, light in body, mouth coating. light and grassy. short finish. oil and spicy.
Arran 12yo 'Cask Strength' (53.6%, OB, Batch 2, 13200 Bts., 2012)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden brown color, toffee, malty, light cocolate, quite strong in nosing. orange, medium body, quite matured, good finish, rounded, mouth coating. dilute taste nice.
Tullamore Dew 'Heritage' (40%, OB, NAS, 20 casks, 8000 bottles, commemmorating Heritage centre in Tullamore, 8000 Bts., 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich cork - Nose: Sweet, fresh maltiness initially prevails although it does remain quite mild throughout. Some very nice faint floral attributes develop with time. - Palate: Also sweet but with a spirity fruitiness which is quite reminiscent of a grappa style. Yes, really quite grappa-like at the end leading into the finish. - Finish: Long and fruity. - Overall Impression: This really is a quite different style of Irish whiskey, but not at all unpleasant, just different with that sweet maltiness and spirity fruitiness.
Powers Single Pot Irish Whiskey 12yo 'John's Lane Release' (46%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark cork - Nose: Gently refined? Water melon and peachy fruitiness, always faint, always light but always 'there'. - Palate: That gentle peachiness tingles lightly and sensually, but again it's quite gentle and subdued. - Finish: Surprisingly long, very long and again with that fruitiness. - Overall Impression: If ever there was a totally laid back or relaxed whiskey then this is the one. It's subdued and gentle, maybe even a little shy but absolutely delightful.
Redbreast 12yo (57.7%, OB, batch: B1/11, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, 700ml, 2011)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Deep rich golden - Nose: Very aromatic liquorice root becoming more intense with vanilla and (car) polish. - Palate: This is big, very big with fruity polish and a creamy mouth-feel. Wonderful. - Finish: Very long with a suggestion of open fire embers right at the end - Overall Impression: I think I'm in love with a whiskey, this just has that je ne sais quoi which tickles my proverbial fancy.
Yellow Spot 12yo (40%, OB, sherry and malaga casks, single pot still whisky, 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden cork - Nose: Creamy and earthy with a peachy fruitiness which quickly expands further. This is followed by a second wave of earthiness and then continues to alternate between the fruitiness and earthiness. - Palate: This pretty well continues from the nose with that earthy, peachy fruitiness but this time accompanied by a suggestion of banana stem and oakiness, very nice. - Finish: Long. - Overall Impression: I love that alternating earthiness and fruitiness, a very nice whiskey.
Yamazaki 1999/2012 'W. whisky Shop 2nd Anniversary' (57%, OB, Puncheon, C#DR70117)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, quite new oak with lot's vanilla. Still clear Japanese whisky feel. Kind of robust in palate.
Hakushu 1982/2004 'Vintage Malt' (56%, OB, 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, More like American Oak, maybe Punchon? Quite some new oak and vanilla. Good quality, elegant, fruity, and good.
Bowmore 16yo 1995 (54%, Silver Seal, 265 Bts., 2011*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Quite nice and balance Bowmore, enjoyable and easy going.
Karuizawa 'Cask Strength' (61.7%, OB, NAS, 1st release, sherry butt, 700ml, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Dark brown, nice heavy sherry, with good smokiness, gun powder. plum, dried fruit, raisin, apple. quite balance and matured. good body. Expensive but good quality.
Bushmills 21yo 'Madeira Finish' (40%, OB, Irish single malt, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Liquid cork - Nose: Am I in a dairy? Definite milkiness here, but chocolate too. Milky cacao drink? Then a wine-iness which reminds me those small bottles of "cherry B" or "Pony" from my late teens. Strange, nice memory though. - Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with plenty of exotic fruitiness. It's rather more-ish too. Definitely reminds me of something from my late teens, but what? I do like this. - Finish: Long with a certain Je ne sais quoi. - Overall Impression: Very alluring especially with those faded memories but this whisky really makes me feel happy. I love that "je ne sais quoi".
Bushmills 16yo (40%, OB, Oloroso & bourbon, Port cask finish, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark amber - Nose: Some initial woodiness then a burst of dark fruitiness, furniture polish and almond nuttiness. The creaminess expands with time to the point where it suggests figs alongside crème Brulée. - Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel with lots of fruitiness alongside figs. Maybe just slightly watery? - Finish: Long, creamy and gentle. - Overall Impression: Rich flavours but at the same time light and gentle. I love this whisky. Creamy sophistication.
Bushmills 10yo (40%, OB, Oloroso & bourbon, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Yellow gold - Nose: Ahhh different indeed, floral grappa-iness? Definitely fruity and floral spirit here. - Palate: Not quite as intense as the nose suggested but certainly fruity and floral. - Finish: Short - Overall Impression: Creamy, fruity and floral with an intense nose and more subdued palate.
Bowmore 20yo 1990/2010 (54%, A.D. Rattray, 1st Fill Bourbon, C#271, 235 Bts.)
Rich Howard, the nose is deep, warm and inviting, a well-integrated blend of orchard fruits and gentle wood smoke right from the start. hints of Seville orange, fresh pear, a whiff of buttercream drifts through, then some hints of iodine...? and then on to a pleasant oakiness through the tail. the palate hits with sweet and tangy fruits, much more vibrant than the nose suggested, but the fruits are well grounded by a dash of sea salt and gentle wood tannin. water accents the creaminess on the nose, adds a dash of spice, more herbs. the palate is sweeter, less fruit and more cream, and more quickly onto herbal wood notes on the finish. a few more drops, and it's even more sweet and more herbal, a bit too much on both counts. much better without water.
Port Ellen 24yo 1982/2007 (43%, Signatory Vintage, hogshead, C#1145, 315 Bts., 750ml)
Rich Howard, the nose hits immediately with fresh lime, then hints of mineral spirits, olive oil, apple skins, fresh field grasses, a dash of herbs, slightly damp earth, cotton balls, and finally the slightest hint of oak in the background. the palate is a tad sweeter than the nose suggests, with lime, a dash of vanilla, sweetish and savory herbs, fennel, red apple skins, olive oil, with a bit more oak here, especially on the finish. with water, fresh lime remains dominant on the nose, but now there's an infusion of sweet cream and vanilla, a suggestion of key lime pie filling (not overly sweet), which is quite nice. more olive oil now as well, and still hints of red apple skin and cooking herbs. the palate is simultaneously more bold and more integrated now, many of the same elements before, but sweeter and creamier, and more herbal on the finish. very nice, and very interesting progression with water.
Ardbeg 'Ardbog' (52.1%, OB, Mix of '1st and 2nd fill ex-bourbon' and ex-Manzanilla casks, 750ml)
Tim Puett, Nose: Dulce de leche, vanilla and even some salty caramel ice cream and butterscotch. My type of nose, richly sweet but not cloyingly so. Palate: This is where the spirit comes through with some hints of lime. Earthy, slightly peaty, and somewhat dry with some salted cashews and a bit more vanilla. Finish: Long lasting with more peat coming through, balancing the salty caramel from the nose and though its warming on the tongue, it is pleasant.
Ardbeg 'Ardbog' (52.1%, OB, Mix of '1st and 2nd fill ex-bourbon' and ex-Manzanilla casks, 750ml)
Rich Howard, the nose starts off a bit hot, with smoldering peat taking center stage. that fades somewhat quickly to toasted oak, soot, mineral water, brambles and blackberries, cured ham, black olives, brine, sweet cream and salted toffee. the wine influence gives the wood a slightly sourish note lingering in the background. the palate is brisk, and the wine quickly asserts itself, with sweet, creamy citrus riding on top of charred embers, ashes, plenty of salty green olives, kippers. the finish long and heavy with sour herbs. way too heavy, actually. a few drops of water tames the nose a bit, still some smoldering embers, black olives, with a strong infusion of creamy citrus and plenty of that salted toffee. the palate is sweeter and saltier now, but somehow better integrated. the smoking brush fire more pronounced, some blackened catfish there, Parmesan cheese, and fortunately, those prominent notes of sour herbs are mostly gone. the nose is pleasant enough either way, but for me the palate requires water. without it, the strong sweet and sour notes are too strong and unbalanced.
Tobermory 14yo 1973/1987 (56.3%, Sestante, Castle Label, 75cl)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Pale yellow gold (actually slightly paler than the picture suggests) - Nose: Quite maritime with a faint suggestion of rubberiness. Quite musty or dusty and leafy. This mellows with some minutes in the glass and develops a fruitiness ... green apple? Is that a hint of white wine too? After more minutes an almost citrus quality develops, on second thoughts perhaps more like lime blossom on a tree as opposed to the fruit itself. Yes, lime blossom. - Palate: Much more smokiness and peatiness than the nose offered. The aftertaste also suggests green fruits and lime blossom. Lovely. - Finish: Very long. - Overall Impression: What a wonderful whisky. "Great"? Very very nearly.
Springbank 13yo 1997 (57.1%, OB for Poit Still Vienna, Sherry Hogshead, 4.4.1997, C#296, 216 Bts., 70cl)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark oak - Nose: Raisins, currants and dry sherry then after 3-4 minutes a suggestion of salty aged oak develops to add a distinct maritime theme. This is again followed by a very faint hint of rubberiness. The whole experience is very outdoors and maritime whilst retaining an element of sherry. - Palate: Smooth with a creamy mouth-feel but quite dry and tingly too. Mmmm maritime sherry with some aged oakiness. - Finish: Long rich and dry with a suggestion of coconut right at end. - Overall Impression: Good but most unusual Springbank as it's rich and dry with lots of sherried oakiness.
Springbank 1972 (57%, OB, Big "S", white label, for Taiwan market, 750ml, 1995*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Pale yellow - Nose: Sweet grassy brasso? Wow, I really didn't expect this at all but yes it's sweet with an overriding grassiness and a suggestion of brasso. The grassy brasso fades quickly to be replaced by a developing floral woodiness and something quite citrus .... pineapple with a salty and lightly smoky background. What a delight. - Palate: Definite pineapple, in fact I'm reminded of those boiled pineapple sweets filled with sherbert (sherbert pineapple drops?) from my childhood. Is that a hint of ginger too? There's lots happening here and it's all good, in fact it's very alive. Is that now a faint hint of peatiness too? - Finish: Almost never-ending, thankfully! - Overall Impression: Magnifique. "Great"? Sure is.
Clynelish 1983/2002 (47%, Samaroli for Previ, C#2685, 306 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich golden - Nose: Lightly smoky vanilla pod or seeds with fruity undertones. The smokiness is quite sweet and it also intensifies with time in the glass. The nose also has a richness or depth of aromas which also grow or intensify with time. - Palate: That vanilla and smokiness initially hit the palate with lots of tingle too, but there's also a light woodiness, perhaps pine-like? Coming along after this initial burst is a definite suggestion of potato, yes really. Not unpleasant either, but it doesn't stay as this is again replaced by that woodiness, dry malty vanilla and light smoke which lead into the finish. - Finish: Long, very long .... extremely long. - Overall Impression: This offers so much, excellent, I love it.
Caol Ila 19yo (55.9%, The Whisky Exchange, Distillery picture on oval label, 70cl)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Shiny yellow gold - Nose: Maritime peaty fruitiness which slowly develops an accompanying light rubberiness over some minutes in the glass. It's all quite faint, gentle & subdued. - Palate: There's a very nice initial punch of peaty fruitiness as the palate is definitely bigger than the subdued nose. That fruitiness now seems to be akin to apricot, peach or even banana. - With 4 drops of water: Potato alongside the fruitiness on the nose? Maybe. The palate is now just oozing with smooth and gentle peatiness. - Finish: Long. - Overall Impression: Very nice indeed, even if gentle.
Bruichladdich 'Br4' (54.7%, The Whisky Exchange, NAS, "Elements of Islay" Br4, 50cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Pale / white wine - Nose: A faint maltiness accompanies candy floss and a light grassiness or even flora. It's all quite light and delicate but yet manages a surprising intensity. - Palate: Definite maltiness and grassiness but also a suggestion of liquorice ensuring the intensity comes to the palate too, but unlike the nose I detect no floral notes. - Finish: Very long with more of that liquorice. - Overall Impression: Nice and intense 'natural' Bruichladdich. Great nose, solid palate.
Glenfarclas 10yo (60%, OB, Malt Whisky Society of Australia's Fourth Malt Whisky Convention Adelaide 2013)
Craig Daniels, Nose: honey roasted almonds, forward, lifted and impeccably behaved ethereal alcohol, table grapes, red apple, autumn leaves, forest floor, furniture polish, fruit brandy, dried apricots, stewed fruits (plums, apricots and prunes), quality oloroso and medium sweet sherry wood. Palate: initial alcohol but with a good rounded mouthfeel,some biting sour fruit then nutty and sweetly fruity with a lovely drying sherry middle and almond and peanut nutskins towards the end. Finish: warming with lots of drying sherry, leather and leaves, sour fruits and lingering wood and tea tannins. Comments: This is a fresh, vibrant and big whisky and indubitably from sherried wood with exceptional clarity. I know it's contrarian to mention sophistication in the same breath as youth but this is a great example. There is nothing silent or dumb about this whisky; it has a classic Glenfarclas profile with a little more fruit (both fresh and stewed) than is usual in the other OBs. To the nose it is totally unpeated; if there's any smoke it comes from the wood. The ethereal alcohol, the nuts and fruit and the wood just meld and melt together seemlessly.
Laphroaig 'Highgrove' (No ABV, OB for Prince of Wales Highgrove shop, NAS, dark green label, 70cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Bright yellow gold - Nose: Fruity, creamy and peaty all rolled into one. Light antiseptic (medicinal) undertones slowly develop over 2-3 minutes as the fruitiness fades leaving the peatiness and medicinal qualities to expand further. - Palate: Initially a surprisingly watery mouth-feel suggests some disappointment, but the whisky literally grows on the palate with full-flavours. There's lots of medicinal peatiness and a suggestion of liquorice towards the end. - Finish: Long, deceptively long. - Overall Impression: A great nose is initially let down by the initial wateriness of the palate, but this realyl does literally grow on you and turns into a very good overall dram.
Laphroaig 'PX CASK' (48%, OB for Travel Retail Exclusive, NAS, mix of ex-bourbon, quarter cask, PX cask. , 1000ml, 2011*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Polished brass - Nose: Earthy with a light rubberiness followed shortly by hints of medicinal fruitiness which keep getting intercepted by that light rubberiness. Very interesting repeating progressions. - Palate: Quite dry fruitiness to the fore dominates the light earthy rubberiness in background. The fruitiness is really quite exotic, papaya maybe? Towards the finish there's a suggestion of light and fruity red wine. - Finish: Long and dry with that light and fruity red wine. - Overall Impression: That red wine really works a treat here, it isn't overpowering and actually adds to the overall balance of this whisky. I love it.
Laphroaig 10yo 'Cask Strength' (58.3%, OB, Batch #004, Jan 2012, 70cl)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich coppery cork - Nose: An initial and intense burst of salty sea air announces a massive maritime presence to the nose. This very quickly develops a light rubberiness and earthy peatiness which expands over 3-5 minutes in the glass. This also has a mellow sweetness which, after a further 2-3 minutes develops hints of light flora. - Palate: Surprisingly smooth and lacking alcohol burn for 58% as everything promised by the nose gently arrives onto the palate. Earthy, peaty, floral fruitiness ... very nice indeed. - With 4 drops of water: More intense maritime peatiness on the nose whilst the palate remains delightfully smooth, even if slightly more intense too. - A further 4 drops of water: Altogether lighter, fainter and somehow too faded, the first 4 drops were excellent, these are just a drop too far. - Finish: Long, delightfully long. - Overall Impression: What a delight, I love this whisky especially with the first 4 drops of water.
Laphroaig 10yo 'Cask Strength' (58.3%, OB, Batch #002, 2010)
Robert Karlsson, Wow. A big beautiful full dark sooty smokiness. Yet round, spicy, vanilla, berries, dark chocolate, leather, lively. Not much hint of alcohol either. This is a really gorgeous nose for the smoke lover. Tastewise in full balance. A superb balance between the berried vanilla and the dark smoke. Really lively and enjoyable. Dark toffee, one cruel bottling. This must be one of the best buys ever.
Macallan 'M' (44%, OB, decanter)
Ho-cheng Yao, Ruby brown color, quite clear sherry cask, with lot's chocolate, plum, cake, toffee. Balanced palate, medium light body, lots wood attack, but still light and smooth. Goold structure and with a drop of water would reveal more power. A little bit sad that the finish is not long enough, or it would be great.
Bowmore 15yo 1996/2011 (57.3%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, sherry butt, C#960005)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Brilliant dark teak - Nose: Very earthy with plenty of aged oak. After some minutes some light rubberiness and peatiness develop followed by very aromatic flora. - Palate: Wow, extremely rich and intense with what I can only describe as currants, raisins, figs and prunes all wrapped in chocolate sauce. Hints of coffee too? Not quite, but amazingly some suggestion of green tea right at the end. - Finish: Will it ever end? Hopefully not. - Overall Impression: What can I say? Fantastic, rich ..... A truly wonderful whisky.
Bowmore 8yo 2002/2011 (46%, Whisky & Rhum, D15/10/'02 B23/8/'11, hogshead, C#20148, 372 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Extremely pale yellow - Nose: Initially fishy, yes quite fishy then some mustiness and leafiness. With more time in the glass a ligth fruitiness and smokiness evolve. - Palate: Definitely no fishiness on the palate but it is quite leafy and lightly smoky. There's also a fruitiness akin to apple or pear. - Finish: Long. - Overall Impression: Am I back in Yorkshire on a riverbank catching chub and barbel?
Elements of Islay 'Bw1' (52.9%, The Whisky Exchange, NAS, 'Bowmore', 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: 21ct yellow gold - Nose: Fresh with a very light rubberiness. Then a smoky woodiness reminiscent of an open log fire. Almost fruity, but extremely lightly so. - Palate: Ahh yes, now there's some fruitiness ... papaya? mango? definitely exotic. Tingly too with a light rubberiness and hints of coconut. - Finish: Long with more hints of coconut. - Overall Impression: Lightly rubbery and peaty with plenty of exotic fruitiness and hints of coconut too. I love this as it delivers much.
Bowmore 15yo 1997/2012 (53.7%, Whisky-Fässle, Duck Edition, Bourbon Hohshead)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich golden yellow - Nose: An initial earthiness and farminess predominate, then a light peatiness and somethign fruity, banana? Somehow I'm thinking light peat wrapped in banana leaves. This constantly tries to be more peaty but it's really more earthy accompanied by that fruitiness. Eventually it offers some maritime freshness. - Palate: Quite sweet here and certainly a little more peatiness than the nose offered. Nice, that sweetness is very honey-like. - Finish: Long and gentle with more light earthiness. - Overall Impression: Lightly peaty and earthy with some quite aromatic (Tasmanian) honey. Very good indeed.
Peat Reek 13yo (61.5%, Blackadder Raw Cask, Hogshead, B6/'12, 2012, C#2012/1, 268 Bts., 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Very pale yellow - Nose: Fresh antiseptic peatiness. The peatiness is really quite light and after a few minutes in the glass it develops a fresh woodiness. I love that antiseptic quality which reminds me of a (UK) skin product called Germolene. After more time is that a light fruitiness coming to the fore? Aye, very nice. - Palate: Much bigger and more intense than the nose with a massive fruity tingle on the front of the palate and a solid earthiness at the back. This is possibly more earthy than peaty, but I really like it. - Finish. Long and intense. - Overall impression: A gentle and quite sophisticated nose just explodes onto the palate. Surprisingly big and intense. Very nice indeed.
Smoking Islay (55%, Blackadder, NAS, B7/'12, hogshead, C#BA2012/438, 240 Bts., 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Extremely pale, almost water-like - Nose: Light fishy smokiness alongside distinct peatiness. Over some minutes in the glass a light rubberiness takes over from the fishiness. - Palate: Yes, a light rubberiness here alongside a fruitiness reminiscent of peach and galia melon. Nice. - Finish. Long with that peachy peatiness. - Overall impression: Very nice fruity peatiness. Light but yet solid.
Smoking Islay (62%, Blackadder Raw Cask, NAS, C#BA2012/436, 287 Bts., 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Chablis white wine - Nose: Initially intensely tingly on the nose thanks to the high abv. Then comes a sweet light earthiness which is almost rubbery - but not quite. Am I reminded of an Atlantic fishing harbour? In a way yes as this is quite maritime, but not fishy. - Palate: A very pleasant mix of peatiness and maritime-ness, fishing harbour indeed. Very nicely warming too. - Finish. Long and warming. - Overall impression: Mmmm liquid comfort food with peaty overtones. Does it need a little water? Maybe next time.
Highland Park 16yo 'Thor' (52.1%, OB, Valhalla Collection, 23000 Bts., 2012)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden brown color, lot's heather, sea, peat, quite malty with light raisin/prune note. quite strong and robust, medium body with good structure. medium long finish. I haven't taste any Highland Park recently with such sea influence and wild. Really fit my pallet. I like it a lot.
Dalmore 12yo (40%, OB, 2009*)
Craig Daniels, Nose; chocolate bullets, honeycomb and oloroso/medium sweet sherry Palate; medium rich sherry with more honey and salted honeycomb. Finish; tiny bit of leather, more dry cocoa/chocolate and some lingering leather Comment; Pretty classy; a certain richness and a nice combination of malt, honey and chocolate.
Glenglassaugh 44yo (41.7%, OB, 750ml, 2010*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golde brown color, very fruity, candy, old malty, very nice and matured. easy going.
Glenglassaugh 34yo 1976 'Town Houses' (45.9%, Art of Whisky, 2010*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow color, grassy, refill cask, light, not matured, kind of weak. not really like old whisky,the cask must have been used many times.
Bunnahabhain 22yo 1990/2013 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, ex-sherry butt, 239 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Brown, prune, blackberry, malty, light chocolate, some candy and light spice, quite easy going sherry cask.
Bowmore 11yo 2001/2012 (53.6%, The Whisky Agency, ex-sherry butt, 341 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden color, peaty, heather, spice, quite boggy, citrus, floral, medium light body, quite powerful, light soap, Very interesting one, comparing thick body and more like the early ninety style.
Glen Garioch 21yo 1991/2012 (50.4%, The Whisky Agency, ex-bourbon hogshead, 153 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow, candy sweet, fruity, pear, light peach, medium body, medium finish, quite matured and sweet, short finish. dilute get some spice note. Generally speaking, kind of too sweet.
Tomintoul 45yo 1968/2013 (48%, The Perfect Dram, ex-bourbon hogshead, 143 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden, quite fruity with some spice, apple, pear, cinnamon, grassy, raw grain, light body, kind of weak, medium short finish. Not bad, but seems not as old as expected.
Glenturret 35yo 1977/2012 (48.4%, The Perfect Dram, ex-bourbon hogshead, 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow, fruity, apple, cinnamon, quite meaty, malt, medium body, medium finish. quite matured and enjoyable one.
Littlemill 23yo 1989/2012 (55.5%, The Whisky Agency, ex-bourbon hogshead, 346 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow, citrus, quite grassy, raw grain, comparing light and more lowland style. light body, short finish, more citrus in palate, palate is the best.
Littlemill 24yo 1988/2012 (52.9%, The Perfect Dram, ex-bourbon hogshead, 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow color, citrus, pear, apple peel, straw, hint of earth, quite beautiful floral nose, white flower. light body, medium long finish, quite elegant and nice lowland style. a drop of water reveal more grassy and floral note. Quite enjoyable and good one.
Port Charlotte 'The Peat Project' (46%, OB, NAS, 70cl, 2012)
Craig Daniels, Nose:whipped cream then creosote with growing smokey bacon; young muscular spirit. Palate: more sweet cream and tar, lots of petrochemical peat.Moderate heat. Finish: rubber and more tar and some toffee. Comment; Tasted blind 14 May 2013. I thought it was Kilchoman, but PC was third behind Ardbeg 10 on my guess list. It's very clean, syruppy sweet spirit underneath the hydrocarbons. It didn't seem to have enough citrus to be Ardbeg and it didn't have a hollow middle that I'd identified in PC before. This one didn't have a donut effect.
Convalmore 1984/2010 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice, Refill Sherry Hogsheads)
Craig Daniels, Nose: sweet fruit salad then pine boxes and camphorwood (naptha) and creaming soda. Palate: pineapple, grapefruit, very syruppy but with some very strange bitters, chinotto or limoncello. Finish; citrus bitters, grapefruit pith Comment: Interesting and weird rather than good.
Caperdonich 1999 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice, Refill Sherry Butt, 2012)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Light and fruity, pretty nondescript. Palate: fruit, sherbet, nuts and spice, some burnt notes and old dark chocolate. Finish; metallic and tonic water. Comment; curiously flat and slightly fruity but hard to work out which fruits.
Bladnoch 19yo 1992 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, C#2159, 2011)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Honey, nougat, fresh banana, then baked banana and demerara sugar. Palate: honey, toffee, fruit salad Finish; lemon bitters Comment; Light and sophisticated. Worthy of spending some time with.
Benromach 2005/2012 (45%, OB, Sassicaia Finish)
Craig Daniels, Colour: mid amber orange with dull autumn brown highlights. Nose: Oiled leather, stewed fruit, lifted mint caramel toffee with smoked mint toffee, some peaty unguents (medical skin ointment) Palate: sweet and earthy, early hit of earthy and smoky peat. An unusual smoked fruit/berry character. Finish: Leathery and leafy with bitter ashes.
Fettercain 'Fior' (42%, OB, NAS, 2010)
Craig Daniels, Colour: an unusually vibrant & bright amber orange with red/brown highlights. Nose: sweet, cream sherry, fudgy, earthy, cigar humidor, waft of earthy peat, some shoe polish, french polish. Palate: rounded and sweet with toffee/fudge, a hint of roast beef, slightly smoky, then a dry sherry kicks in and an astringent leafiness. Finish: burnt toffee, tobacco leaf, autumn leaves and leather with a slight tannic bitterness. Dries in the aftertaste and stays ashy/leathery. Comment: cleaner than the usual offerings with a lingering ashiness and charred leaf character.
Port Ellen 28yo 1982/2011 (60%, Wilson & Morgan, C#2033, 534 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Beautiful smoke and peat,Hospital disinfectant and horse stables, Like Ardbeg or Laphroaig, with a dash of water, it is little sour like tamarind pulp juice, more smoke and some salty licorice notes developing some time later into some coastal notes. Nose that is so good that you do not want to drink it, but go on enjoy it! Very syrupy, sweet and more smoke on palate, excellent long and everalsting smoke and peat finish. This a masterpiece! (MMA 2011 blind tastings)
Strathisla 1970/2011 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail Licensed Bottling, 514 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Coffee toffee,dark chocolates, with a dash of water there is an explosion of fruits- first to come out is orange marmalade and do I get faint hints of smoke?Old leather,Nutty and lots of dry fruits. More marmalade on palate, full bodied and a symphony of dried fruits, excellent long fruity finsih. (MMA 2011 blind tasting)
Lochside 46yo 1965/2011 (52.3%, Adelphi, Limited, Blended Scotch Whisky, 499 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Typical deeply sherried whisky,cloves and oriental spices,concoction of dried fruits,like dates, prunes, after some time you get Christmas cake and some organics.Excellent sweet and syrupy dried nuts fruit cocktail. Brillient organics on the finish that is everlasting! (MMA 2011 blind tasting)
Karuizawa 1981/2011 (55.2%, OB, Btl. 12/08/2011, C#2634)
Krishna Nukala, Heavily sherried nose,betel nuts and sweet paan ( Indian betel nut leaves) plum cake with lots of raisins and rum.Some vitamin B-complex Tonic.Typical palate that relates to a heavily sherreid whisky, B complex tonic returns on palate , very long finish with lots of organics ( Blind tasted 2011 MMA)
Balvenie 21yo 'Portwood' (47.6%, OB, 2012*)
Krishna Nukala, Sweet and complex,mildly smoky,winy with honeyed notes, some coconut candies, with few drops of water some citrous notes evolve. Very sweet and spicy, extremely smooth and highly drinkable, long spicy finish- question is is it a 90 pointer??In re tasting I liked it a lot. Yes, it compelled me to give a 90. Why not a 90? (MMA 2012 blind tasting notes reproduced)
Aultmore 5yo 2007/2012 (66.8%, Master of Malt, D12/3/'07 B5/'12, first fill sherry puncheon, 628 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Herbal (like Chebulic Myrobalan) botanical name - Like my grand mother used to give for cough when I was small child (in my native langauge it is called karakkai). Odd woody notes later developing into nice spicy pickled notes, oh this is complex..now karakkai returns again, some coffee toffee.Very sweet and spicy and hot, some organics, very high abv whisky, Long hot firy finish oh, do I get cinnamon in the end?- classy, out of ordinary- Blind tasting in MMA 2012
Teaninich 23yo 1973/1997 (57.1%, OB Rare Malts Selection)
Krishna Nukala, Very waxy and spicy on nose. Lots of green grass.Very heavy on palate with sour and sweet fruits. Lovely, enjoyable finish
Auchentoshan (50.1%, OB, Bourbon Hogshead, 257 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Tasted at the Whisky Shop in Edinburgh along with other Maniacs in June 2012. The age of bottle is quite intriguing. Nevertheless, the stuff is great. My brief notes is- very oily with lots of fruits and vanilla. On palate the fruits re appear with lots of sweet intensity. The finish is strong with honeyed velvette texture
Karuizawa 29yo 1983/2012 (62.1%, OB for LMDW, bourbon cask, C#8597, 282 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Rich heavy nose. Lots of complexities. Some heather and flowers.Some old classical nose. Restrained peat and smoke.Very sweet and spicy. Little dry and hot. Spicy and lava like talisker. Brilliant whisky. Blind tasted MMA 2012
Grand Castle 18yo 1993/2012 (57.4%, Various Independent Bottlers, C#3593, 631 Bts.)
Krishna Nukala, Very rich dry fruits with lots of quality woody notes.Brilliant sweets and dry with organics. Long everlasting finish. Blind tasted MMA 2012
Bowmore 15yo 1996/2011 (57.3%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, sherry butt, C#960005)
Krishna Nukala, Weird smoke,but enjoyable! Mild leather and boot polish.Sweet syrup. Lots dryness on palate and cheeks. Very smooth but spicy with Long long finish. Is it a GM stuff? yes on re-tasting after 7 days. Blind tasting in MMA 2012
Elements of Islay 'Pl1' (60%, The Whisky Exchange, NAS, 'Port Charlotte', 2012*)
Krishna Nukala, Laphroaig matured in sherry cask? Highly phenolic, like in hospital corridor- quality smoke and peat, coal tar-Briiliant! Lots of mouth watering sweets and spices, heavy mouthfeel, Extremely long, peaty and spicy finish. This is Top Class- Blind tasting in MMA 2012
Singleton of Glen Ord 'Limited Edition Natural Cask Strength' (57.7%, OB, NAS, Second Release, European oak,, 2892 Bts., 700ml, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Quite grassy, with clear influence of sherry casks, sweet chocolate, plum, cake, ripe apple, very easy to drink with good body and power. A very good selection.
Singleton of Glen Ord 'Singature--Maureen Robinson' (40%, OB, NAS, 700ml, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Exclusive to Taiwan first, may available in other countries. More towards to the grassy and ripe fruit side. quite nice nose. The palate is very smooth, malty sweet. easy drinking and very good to be on the rock style.
Karuizawa 45yo (59.6%, OB, sherry butt,, C#2725, 310 Bts., 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Dark brown, heavy sherry, plum, cream brulee ,Chinese Medicine, Ginseng, very woody, too heavy.
Talisker 35yo 1977/2012 (54.6%, OB, 3090 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden, quite Talisker, sea, lot's flower, heather, very. Sweet, honey, some raisin, black fruit, medium body, more flower reveal later, need time. Very nice
Tomatin 1991/2013 (51%, OB for TSMC, Oloroso sherry butt, Balance, C#31742, 667 Bts., 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow, plum, woody, dried fruit, orange, grape fruit, raisin, quite robust, spice, herbal, wet wood, quite complex, yet too strong and probably good with ice. Dilute taste better.
Glenlivet 'Alpha' (50%, OB, NAS, 70cl, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow, citrus, grassy, lot's vanilla, apple, coconut, straight nose and taste better. Dilute reveal much more vanilla and coconut. Adding ice is not a good idea, too sweet and turns out to be coconut oil.
Grant's 25yo (40%, OB, batch#09/0614, 2010*)
Ho-cheng Yao, apple, sweet, spice, nice and powerful
Bowmore 'Darkest' (43%, OB, +/-1997)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Cough linctus "Throaties" cough lollies, brandy soaked plums, oloroso slathered over roasted nuts with cinnamon and allspice. Palate: Sherry, toffee, burnt fruit buns, smoked almonds and dark chocolate. Finish: Raisins and tar, some metallic bitters. Retasted April 2013 - same score 15 years apart. Comment: It's a sherry & peat mixture that works.
Bruichladdich 11yo 2001 'Wee Ruari' (46%, OB, Distilled 20th, May, 2001, C#1, 376 Bts., 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, actually quite peated, balanced fruity(citrus, pear, apple), with some herbal note. heather and smoke, medium body, finished long. matured, malty, very nice and enjoyable. layered, no stress. Quite some smoke and log fire in palate. I just love it.
Ardbeg 21yo 1975/1996 (48.9%, Cadenhead's Authentic Collection, Sherry, D03/'75 B10/'96)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, peated, lot's tropical fruit, malty bread. mango, pine apple, citrus. A typical Ardbeg in the 1970s, very enjoyable and just love it.
Bunnahabhain 23yo 1989/2012 (47.1%, Various Independent Bottlers for Alfred Barnard, Dis. 10,'89, Btl. 10/'12, C#8266, 284 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden brown color, sherry influence, plum, dried fruit, very light sulfur, cinnamon, apple pie, medium body, medium finish, some cake sweet finish.
Clynelish 23yo 1988/2012 (48.8%, Various Independent Bottlers for Alfred Barnard, Dis. 10,'88, Btl. 06/'12, C#5726, 269 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden brown. toffee, gum, sherry influence, red fruit, cake, light chocolate. Quite some malty influence. medium light body, quite strong and wood attack, kind of thing in finish. Palate has more Clynelish house style.
Kilchoman 2008/2013 (61.2%, OB, Bourbon cask, Dis. 07/'08, Btl. 02/'13, C#382/2008, 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Yellow color, very peaty, very fruity, nice citrus and oak, medium body, medium long finish, kind of salty and very enjoyable.
Kilchoman 2007/2013 'Loch Gorm' (46%, OB, sherry cask matured., 10000 Bts.)
Ho-cheng Yao, Very peated, smoke, matured, layered. sherry influence. raisin. dired fruit. Quite balanced.
Benriach 17yo 'Solstice Second Edition' (50%, OB, Heavily peated, Port finish, 2012)
Ho-cheng Yao, Brown color, very peated, with red fruit, raisin, sweetness. Balanced well and rich. Heavy body, long finish.
Benriach 12yo 2000 (54.4%, OB, Virgin Oak Hogshead, C#9030, 2012)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden color, coconut, apple, citrus, very fruity one. With lot's vanilla. Quite intense, lot's coconut in palate as well. Still lot's vanilla. Dilute didn't help. medium light body. medium short finish.
Aberfeldy 'Unravel' (56.5%, OB, NAS, single cask, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark and richly glowing cork - Nose: Lots of antique woodiness with a suggestion of leatheriness too. These just expand further with time in the glass until an almost dry paint-iness develops. Nice, very soothing and civilised. - Palate: A wonderful mouth-feel with a tingling pepperiness whilst remaining creamy and fruity. I'm thinking Crème Brulée alongside cappucino and walnuts. - Finish: Very long with just a suggestion of dark cherries right at the end. - Overall Impression: Not quite the proverbial (English) Christmas cake or pudding, but it's definitely a winter warmer for the fireside whilst you look out the window at the snow. I love this whisky.
Aberfeldy 12yo (40%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Bright golden - Nose: Initially quite grassy or what I may call "countryside" but soon develops more vanilla attributes and then some light fruitiness. - Palate: Slightly watery mouth-feel (40% abv?) and quite light in flavour but all the vanilla and fruitiness of the nose transpose onto the palate. - Finish: Long-ish. - Overall Impression: A quite light whisky, summer picnic anyone?
Balvenie 21yo 'Portwood' (47.6%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden amber - Nose: Quite subdued initially, this needs more time .... Yes it does expand and develop, but quite slowly and gently. Firstly with a lightly perfumed, fresh and clean woodiness, then eventually a quite winey woodiness takes over. - Palate: Ahhh much more distinct than the nose with a tingly vanilla woodiness alongside a pronounced suggestion of red wine, nice. Creamy mouth-feel too. - Finish: Long and tingly with red wine hints. - Overall Impression: A very subdued nose gives way to a wonderful palate. For once the red wine-iness works very well. I love this one.
Balvenie 12yo 'Doublewood' (40%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Liquid gold - Nose: Initially quite leafy but this soon turns more floral and sweet. A fruitiness (summer berries) also develops alongside vanilla to round off the pleasant experience. - Palate: Definite leafiness on the palate, but also a light and fresh woodiness. Tingly (lightly peppery?) honey too. - Finish: Long. - Overall Impression: The leafiness soon gives way to more aromas and flavours. A good 'anytime' whisky, especially in front of an open fire.
Balvenie 'Tun 1401 Batch #5' (50.1%, OB, NAS, 2012)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark golden brown - Nose: Aromatic wood and vanilla, then (English) Christmas cake mixture before baking. There's so much happening here but I'm struggling to keep up with it all, I love it. - Palate: Rich dark fruitiness and red wine-iness? Lots of sherry presence, rich and creamy mouth-feel, once again so much happening with this. It's magnificent but even with the heavier flavours it is still incredibly delicate. - Finish: Very long and only slowly and gently fading. - Overall Impression: A true synergy here where the result is possibly much greater than the sum of components? It has so many facets but yet delightfully harmonious. Did I say "Great"? I did now.
Longmorn 33yo (43.7%, Various Independent Bottlers for Laird's Club (Australia), Private bottling by Malt Whisky Wholesalers (Australia), 2006*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: sherry, walnut and almond with oilskin/waxed paper building. Toffee and lightly toasted fruitcake. Slightly flat early and that might be the wood taking charge early. Palate: interesting mix of stewed fruit and nuts and then something papery with raisins and wax. Finish; initially sweet then cardboardy - curiously short and dryly woody. Comment: There is the odd flat spot throughout this whisky but it's a whisky to which you warm over time. It really doesn't shine until it's in the glass at least 20 minutes. On the edge of greatness, but the wood has taken over.
Longmorn 40yo '7.55' (54.9%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Liquid Heaven, 2008*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: Layers of red berry and stone fruit and vanillin oak wood along with a growing background of coffee beans, coffee grounds and Kahlua (coffee liqueur). Palate: Silky and rounded, surprisingly delicate, without being fragile. Lovely mouthfeel. More of that roasted coffee bean. Finish; Toffee, fruit chews then lots of coffee grounds - but the bitterness isn't excessive. Comment: Lots of people mentioned the coffee (as did the SMWS notes. I recorded them without having read the notes), they're definitely there. Maybe it's over the hill, but I don't think so. Amended 11April13. Jim Murray's notes in Whisky Bible 2012 are spot on although his score is too high.
Glenlivet (Minmore) 30yo 1976/2006 (57.1%, Cadenhead's Chairman's Stock, Sherry Butt, 432 Bts.)
Craig Daniels, Nose: big sherry early and not much else, Fruity (sultanas and raisins), candied orange peel, a nice hint of fresh table grape and some sulphur. Palate; big and rich, slight hint of sulphur which dissipates over time. Becomes more integrated and complex after 20-30 minutes. Finish; long, sweet and fruity with nice tannins; gets smoother and more refined over time. Comment: An amazing rollercoaster of a ride, pumps out OTT sherry early then settles down into a lovely creme caramel and stewed fruit medley. Develops increasing complexity and balance but you've got to leave it for 30 minutes in the glass. Score after 5 minutes would be 82 - after 30 minutes 90. A whisky that rewards patience
Crown Royal 'De Luxe' (40%, OB, +/-2008)
Craig Daniels, Nose: candy and spicy rye, quite hot spirit. Some wintergreen and pinewood. spearmint and sesame candy. Palate; thin and sharp and sweet then sour. Finish; light, sour and slightly bitter. WOW: a big disappointment. This needs a mixer to make it more palatable.
Bunnahabhain 31yo 1980/2012 (52.5%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, Sherry Butt, C#604)
Craig Daniels, Nose; lots of sherry, raisins with a whiff of sulphur. Christmas cake and fruit medley, ginger roll with toffee sauce, some charred wood and some earthy, farmyard peat. Palate; rich and sweet and lightly smokey - I wasn't expecting peat but it was there if subtle and light. Finish: long, warm and slightly sour; a reprise of earthy peat and the struck match sulphur hangs around. Lovely whisky yet that slightly dirty sulphur stops it from scoring higher.
Bowmore 16yo 1996/2012 'Carn Mor' (46%, Various Independent Bottlers for Morrison & Mackay, 844 Bts., 700ml)
Craig Daniels, Nose: smoked honey and leafiness, some brine, whiffs of wood smoke and some gunpowder. Palate: malt and candy, building old vine cane bonfire smoke. Finish; long and quite spiritty, quite youthful Tasted 5 April 2013. Maybe a few rough edges but it has a pretty classic Bowmore profile.
Clynelish 24yo 1972/1997 (61.3%, OB Rare Malts Selection)
Craig Daniels, Nose: banana cream and custard, creme brulee, honey and peanut brittle, vanilla slice, some hints of coconut. Spirit stays prickly. Palate: warm, spicy, sweet and malty. Vanilla cream biscuits. Finish; malty, warm and woody Retasted 6 April 2013. Same score after 13 years. I nursed my 25ml for over an hour and the spirit just stays hard and brittle. Just stays too hot to score higher from me and it's a bit unidimensional. Competent but not great. Not in the same class as the 23yo 1974/1997.
Bowmore 1965 'Full Strength' (50%, OB, 1985*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: smoked apples, applewood, chargrilled pineapple, honey on toast, cashew nuts. Palate: more tropical fruit, some leafy character and vine cane sap. Modest but influential peat, beautifully integrated. Finish: nice long and rounded, reprises of smoke and pine or fir needles. Impeccably balanced. Retasted 6 April 2013. Same score across 20 years. Incredibly good whisky.
Cutty Sark 'Cask Strength' (51.4%, OB, NAS, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow color, quite grassy with lot's citrus and lemon zest. some spice with hint of apple peel. light body with good malty sweet. some nice herbal influence, a nice and refreshing blend. Nice work.
Bunnahabhain 6yo 2005/2012 (60.1%, Riverstown, D20/12/'05 B6/'12, hogshead, C#11045, 262 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Now here's a very young Bunny, just 6 years old and very pale in colour, in fact almost water-like. The nose is nothing like water, it's filled with a lightly fishy smokiness. Just like a beach BBQ slowly working its magic with kippers (that's smoked herring). Lots of fishy smokiness and BBQ embers; nice. The palate is richer than the nose with lots of peatiness and a hint of fruitiness alongside the smoked herring. A medium to long finish just extends the palate. My Overall Impression says this is very maritime with lots of Atlantic-ness, maybe just a little too fishy for me, but a very good whisky considering its youthfulness.
Bunnahabhain 35yo 1976/2012 (49.1%, Whisky Doris, D11/'76 B 6/'12, sherry hogshead, C#6112, 248 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Now this is one richly dark Bunny with a colour of very dark amber or maybe even teak. The nose initially can't be much more countryside, even down to the suggestion of very aromatic cow manure, yes really, but not in a bad way. After some minutes this changes to offer a musty dark fruitiness and antique leather. The palate warms with that dark fruitiness alongside a lightly toasted slightly dry oakiness. This continues into the very long finish. My Overall Impression is one of an excellent whisky. Don't be put off by my 'maure' comment, it's countryside at its very best, even reminding me of early mornings on the river bank. Gone Fishing
Bunnahabhain 1997/2012 'Driftwood' (46%, Wemyss Malts, hogshead, 374 Bts.)
Keith Wood, The colour is a very pale yellow, the nose lightly rubbery and almost, but not quite offering hints of rubberiness. After some minutes a distinct fruitiness turns very slightly fishy in a smoky way. The palate is solid, very solid with a lightly rubbery and peaty earthiness. Very nice. The long finish offers gentle peatiness and fruitiness. My Overall Impression is one of a slightly disappointing nose but a truly fantastic palate.
Bunnahabhain 38yo 1973/2012 (41.2%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, sherry butt, C#1)
Keith Wood, Once again my Classic Malt glass is graced by a rich dark amber liquid. The nose is extremely aromatic, slightly sweet and lightly perfumed. I'm in my olde worlde childhood sweet shoppe again! A suggestion of furniture polish develops with time as does a rich sweet woodiness. By comparison the palate is initially very subdued, gentle and creamy with a very light tingle on the front of the tongue, followed by creamy cappuccino. The finish is deceptively long and repeating. My Overall Impression says gentle and subdued but yet delightful, refined and very civilised. A true gentle giant
Bunnahabhain 13yo 1998/2012 (55.2%, Adelphi for Taiwan Whisky Club, C#6039, 629 Bts.)
Keith Wood, What a colour; almost black - treacle toffee or even ebony. The nose suggests slightly rubbery bread dough left to rise in a warm room. There's also a hint of lightly toasted woodiness. The palate also has a ligthly toasted quality, but more akin to dark chocolate, espresso coffee and a fruitiness reminiscent of raisins and prunes. The finish is extremely long, almost never-ending and very rich too. My Overall Impression is of a quite typical and very good Bunnahabhain containing all the right suggestions of the Atlantic coast, rubber dinghy moored to an aged pier and an underlying rich dark fruitiness.
Bunnahabhain 12yo (46.3%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, The (natural) colour is rich golden and the nose initially offers a musty leafiness which gives way to light rubberiness after a few minutes. Is there something lightly metallic alongside a slightly bitter fruitiness after some more minutes? This is not bad, it's just a little different and unusual. The palate offers nothing strange at all, just good and honest, creamy, leafy, fruity and very earthy. The finish is medium to long with a hint of coconut right at the end. My overall Impression is one of a slightly unusual nose, a very good palate and I love that coconut right at the end.
Bladnoch 15yo 1993/2009 (43%, Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice)
Craig Daniels, Nose; light, slightly floral with stone dust and chalk, some light fresh citrus notes (lemon, lime, coriander) Palate; soft, clean floral notes with a late hint of tonic water, rain water and minerals. Finish: clean, fresh, tonic water/quinine, pastry and icing sugar. Comment; Stony, citric, floral and clean - interesting and worth persisting with over 20-30 minutes.
Glendronach 12yo 'Original' (43%, OB, 2011*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: lots of sherry and raspberries, toffee and raisins. Palate; slightly thin and spiky, more berries and cherries not as integrated as the nose. Finish: long and fruity with some tannic bitterness. Reminds me of 'finished' whiskies where the finishing isn't all that integrated especially in the palate. Tasted blind 27 March 2013
Glen Ord 30yo (58.7%, OB, 2005)
Rich Howard, the nose is immediately malty and citrusy, infused with plenty of lemon, as i generally expect from Glen Ord. there's some polished oak table in the background, but no sign of wood dominance here at all, despite the age. with time, hints of green apples and navel oranges drift through, intertwined with light herbal notes, and a dash of vanilla. quite crisp and clean, a stately, well-balanced nose. the palate offers plenty of tart green apple, hints of lemon, delicate herbs, with a long tannic finish. a drop or two of water softens the tart green apple on the nose to a slightly sweeter red, drizzled in fresh lemon juice, the oaky notes a little more prominent now, lemongrass, sweet herbs and a dash of powdered sugar lingering in the background. the palate is simultaneously sweeter on the approach and more herbal on the finish now, with some apple and orange citrus throughout, and a dash of vanilla. i think i like this one neat, despite the ABV.
Bowmore 16yo 1989/2005 (51.8%, OB, 134 Bourbon casks)
Rich Howard, the nose starts on a gentle oakiness, equally gentle smoke, then lighter notes of fresh pear, a dash of clover honey and a hint of vanilla. after a few minutes, some floral notes and hints of perfumed wood start to drift through. yes, the lavender is here, fortunately somewhat understated. with the toasted oak, it's more like a man's cologne than, um... a perfume. ;) the palate is sweet, herbal and slightly smoky, growing a tad perfume-y on the finish, again not too much. with a drop or two of water, much of the wood and almost all of the smoke is dispelled on the nose, leaving fresh peach, marzipan and more of the floral notes, lavender pastilles now. the palate follows suit. nice if you like them sweet, but maybe growing a tad too perfume-y for some on the finish. "safest" to enjoy at cask strength, i'd say.
Glen Scotia 20yo 1991/2012 (44.2%, Wilson & Morgan Barrel Selection, sherry butt, C#1)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Very dark amber - Nose: Aromatic fruity wood develops slowly into an almost cognac-like richness. Suggestions of nuts, prunes and cherries add to the depth of this nose. - Palate: Lots of that cognac-ness on the palate alongside a slightly dry fruitiness of figs and dates. - Finish: Long and rich, slightly dry too. - Overall impression: Delicious and excellent. Only a very slight wateriness stops it from being a "Great", but it isn't far away.
Glen Scotia 1991/2012 'Strawberry Ganache' (46%, Wemyss Malts, butt, 833 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich amber - Nose: Sherried dark fruitiness but combined with suggestions of vanilla and the faintest of rubberiness. I really do like this nose. - Palate: Creamy with a gentle richness. Fruity and earthy too with a tingle concentrated on the sides of the palate. Very nice. - Finish: Medium to long and always gently rich. - Overall impression: Literally mouth-watering. Rich flavours but creamily sophisticated too. A gentle giant.
Glenrothes 24yo 1988/2012 (49.3%, Whisky Doris, D4/'88 B6/'12, sherry hogshead, C#7317, 288 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich dark gold. - Nose: Very fresh and extremely perfumed, reminding me of very perfume soap. After some minutes a sense of freshly-sawn wood develops. - Palate: Sweet and tingly (peppery), yes very sweet. This reminds of those tiny fruit salad chewy sweets I bought as a child (four for a half-penny). The woodiness from the nose also appears on the palate alongside the sweets. - With 5 drops of water: The perfumed sweetness has now gone from the nose, being replaced by a suggestion of leafy countryside. The palate remains sweet, but nearly so much as before. Much better now! - Finish: Long and sweet. - Overall Impression: The sweetness here reminds me of a whisky liqueuer. But much better with water.
Glenrothes 21yo 1990/2011 (60.1%, Wilson & Morgan for Taiwan, Sherry butt, C#12899, 543 Bts., 70cl)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark and rich; amber with a tinge of copperiness. - Nose: Rubberiness with a suggestion of spent match. Yes, these two traits are predominant so it seems to be quite sulphury, but actually not unpleasant. Just the right level for me to like. - Palate: This explodes onto the palate with a mighty tingle, then comes a fruitiness (raisins and currants), apple crumble too. The rubberiness from the nose eventually appears on the palate, but very faintly. - Finish: Long and creamy - apple crumble. - Overall Impression: Following the sulphuriness of the nose the palate was a fruity delight. A very good whisky which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Glenrothes 1978/2008 (43%, OB, D3/11/'78 B7/1/'08, 5600 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark liquid gold. - Nose: Fresh exotic fruitiness with a faint suggestion of aniseed. Yes, delightfully exotic. - Palate: All that exotic fruitiness from the nose wrapped in a light leafiness and served on a bed of vanilla sauce. Very nice. - Finish: Long, gentle and repeating. - Overall Impression: Gentle and creamy, yet exotically fruity. Very 'clean' and honest, very good too. I love it.
Glenrothes 1995/2011 (43%, OB)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden yellow - Nose: Strange; scorched electrical wiring? Toasted even. Slightly musty. The sense of scorched / toasted wiring fades to leave a musty grassiness. - Palate: Creamy and grassy alongside the flavours of honeydew melon and vanilla ice cream. - Finish: Short to medium. - Overall Impression: A most enjoyable palate but the whisky is let down overall by the nose.
Laphroaig 1996/2012 (56.1%, Malts of Scotland, D6/'96 B9/'12, sherry hogshead, C#MoS 12041, 240 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark amber, Mahogany-ish - Nose: Furniture polish growing more intense quite quickly. Not quite dark fruitiness but something similar, fresh, rich and mildly antiseptic. Just like a good Laphroaig should be. - Palate: Big, rich, creamy, luxurious. Now why am I thinking maritime, peaty crème Brulée? - Finish: Long, rich and creamy. - Overall Impression: I love it. Not quite a "Great" but not far away.
Laphroaig 15yo 1996/2012 (51.2%, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection, D26/11/'96 B11/6/'12, hogshead, C#8510, 297 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Chablis or Pouilly Fumé - Nose: Initially lots of fruitiness with hints of banana stem, melon and peach but all warehoused in a peat bog. This is all followed by a hint of spent match or firework touchpaper, but not for long as a lightly peated earthiness soon returns. - Palate: Bigger and more intense than the nose with a tingly pepperiness alongside fruity peatiness. The fruitiness is reminiscent of (red) summer berries and peach, but the peatiness remains foremost. It's quite sweet too. - Finish: Long and fading only very gently and slowly. - Overall Impression: A very subdued nose gives way to a much more intense palate. It's not bad, but I somehow think it could be much more. It seems to lack a little depth somewhere.
Talisker 2000/2011 'Distillers Edition' (45.8%, OB, Amoroso finish, TD-S: 5NZ)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Deep, dark amber - Nose: This starts slowly with something lightly floral and then it intensifies with a leatheriness and fruity earthiness. Finally a maritime peaty rubberiness builds. - Palate: Much more intense than the nose with wood, leather, exotic fruit and a hint of citrus. - Finish. Long with that citrus element right at the end. - Overall Impression: I do like the mixture of woodiness, fruitiness, leatheriness and a touch of citrus. Quite different for a Talisker but most enjoyable.
Talisker 25yo (45.8%, OB, refill casks, 5946 Bts., 2011)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich glowing cork - Nose: Raspberries in a peach sauce served on a rubber platter. The rubberiness is quite faint whereas the fruitiness dominates. - Palate: Smooth leafiness followed by fruitiness, custard-iness and finally a light suggestion of spent match. - Finish. Long-ish, yes long. - Overall Impression: Interesteing, very interesting. Creamy, fruity, light rubbery peatiness or was that just wood-smokiness? Just missing the point somewhere.
Talisker 10yo (45.8%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich golden cork - Nose: Light rubbery peatiness alongside suggestions of apple, pear and a certain woodiness. The rubbery peatiness expands with time in the glass. - Palate: An initial burst of leafiness soon gives way to fruity light peat with that faint rubberiness. Then more fruitiness expands across the palate. - Finish. Long and fruity with a light peatiness. - Overall Impression: Interesting; Fruity light peatiness and gentle rubberiness. Nice too.
Glenury Royal 40yo 1970/2011 (59.4%, OB, 1500 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Pale amber - Nose: Ooohh this is deep, a little antiseptic and very Atlantic. There's a dark fruitiness on the nose too which exudes raisins and cherries, but that Atlantic-ness is just quite stunning. It's maritime, lightly salty and a little woody, just like an aged Atlantic pier. - Palate: This has an earthiness, not quite peaty but again very Atlantic and quite massively intense as it sits right on the front of the palate leading into the long finish - Finish: Very long. - Overall Impression: Deep, stunning and I love the Atlantic effect. Definitely a "Great".
Karuizawa 48yo 1964/2012 (57.7%, Number One Drinks for Wealth Solutions (Poland), C#3603, 149 Bts., 70cl)
Keith Wood, I think it's fair to say I've been looking forward to this one; the oldest Karuizawa ever bottled to date. The colour is dark amber with a tinge of copperiness. The nose is fragrant, very fragrant with amazingly delicate flora alongside a lightly perfumed antique woodiness. After some minutes it suggests its age with a light mustiness but with more time it expands and further develops those wonderfully delicate floral notes. The palate just bursts forth onto the front of the tongue. This is very much alive! The floral notes from the nose are now dancing across the palate. Ahhh peach melba with gently perfumed (English) Christmas cake. My overall impression is of a truly magnificent and vibrant whisky. A "Great" by a country mile, or two.
Karuizawa 1984 (64.5%, Number One Drinks for TWE / Speciality Drinks, C#4021, 70cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, The colour is rich cork with a hint of coppery bronze. The nose is immensely fragrant with a herbal leafiness alongside a suggestion of figs and maybe dates. Whoa ... wait a minute .. is that really the aroma of freshly roasted pork coming through now? Surely not smoky bacon crisps too? Yes, I really believe so. Magnificent! The palate is big, massive, powerful, bold and personnifies everything from the nose including the smoky bacon crisps. Especially the smoky bacon crisps. The finish may eventually end, one day. My overall impression says I'm a hapyp man, very happy and I'm about to use that word again "Great" and 92 very bold, delightful and massive points.
Karuizawa 1982/2012 (46%, The Whisky Exchange, first fill bourbon, C#8497)
Keith Wood, The colour is one of gently glowing golden brass. The nose offers aromatic earthy flora, maybe English cottage herb garden alongside spring bulbs. Was that a sudden hint of spent match? Perhaps more like bonfire or BBQ embers at the end of a summer day in the garden? The palate is wonderfully fruity with hints of creamy peach that tingle and tantalise. Crème caramel? Tiramisu? Maybe even marinated trifle base? The finish is delightfully long with that tiramisu really coming to the fore now. My overall impression is one of a very good, nay excellent fruity whisky with a depth of tiramisu and light cappuccino. It may not be as heavy and rich as some of the others I'm trying today, but maybe it exhibits a slightly different distillery style and one which is extremely commendable. I'm even upgrading my original MMA 2012 score from 85 to 86 points.
Karuizawa 'Spirit of Asama' (55%, Number One Drinks for TWE / Speciality Drinks, NAS, 70cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, The colour here is light amber. The nose offers a selection of dried herbs with just the faintest suggestion of a very aromatic Alpine cheese. A warm woodiness develops which is reminiscent of bonfire embers. The palate has a very smooth and creamy mouth-feel, a suggestion of crème caramel? A dark fruitiness akin to figs, prunes, dates and cherries - almost but not quite. Freshly ground coffee beans? Again almost, but not quite. The finish is long and slightly dry, again with almost coffee beans. My overall impression is that the few extra abv really do help here as it has the ooomph that the 48% version lacks. A couple more points on my scale too ..... 89 to be exact.
Karuizawa 'Spirit of Asama' (48%, Number One Drinks for TWE / Speciality Drinks, NAS, No.1 Drinks for TWE, 70cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, The colour here is slightly dull cork. The nose is initially slightly farmy whilst also offering what I can only describe as a maritime woodiness with just a hint of spent match. This all develops with time to include a custard style creaminess and just a suggestion of liquorice. The palate again personnifies the nose and also has a slightly watery mouth-feel. Perhaps a slightly higher abv would help here? The finish is very pleasantly long. As for my overall impression? Make no mistake this is good, very good, even excellent but I feel it needs just a little more ooomph. Points? A well-deserved 87 really don't go amiss with this one.
Karuizawa 29yo 1983/2012 (62.1%, OB for LMDW, bourbon cask, C#8597, 282 Bts.)
Keith Wood, This edition of Karuizawa comes from LMDW's "Cocktail Series" and I have to ask "Do people really want to use this in cocktails?" I guess my Old Luddite-ness is rearing its overly-traditional head here? The colour is amber. The nose is earthy and very lightly toasted in character and expands with a faint rubbery leatheriness. After some minutes I'm also detecting suggestions of dark chocolate and fresh coffee. This is jam-packed full of character. The palate is initially creamy-smooth and then caressed by a rich tingle comprising hints of fresh fruit, an earthiness, leather and rubber. Why am I reminded of a very good cognac here? The finish is very long and delightful. My overall impression doesn't hesitate to use that word again "Great". In fact I'm even upgrading my MMA 2012 91 points to a very worthy 92.
Glen Grant 10yo (40%, OB, 700ml, 2012*)
Craig Daniels, Nose: sweet malt and some aged straw, honey and honeysuckle, occasional indescript flora along with a tiny bit of citrus and violets and even some ginger; more honey and meadow flowers. Palate: Sweet, rounded with honey and some oak, tiny touch of scorched almonds. Finish: Sweet then metallic and then bitter beercan metal. This is a classic youngish Speyside profile, especially in the tail. This has the profile of a younger whisky.
Bowmore 1995 'Maltmen's Selection' (54.6%, OB, C#1551, 1552, 1553, 1559 & 1560, 3000 Bts., 2008*)
Rich Howard, the nose suggests a "dessert in a glass", with milk chocolate, caramel, sweet mascarpone, lightly salted cashews, and a heavy tropical fruit punch, including the ginger ale. restrained notes of peat drift from behind the chocolate and tangy fruits. if you're looking for dessert, the palate doesn't disappoint: quite sweet with plenty of chocolate on the tongue, followed closely by a very rich fruit and berry reduction, eventually giving way to a finish of subtle peat and herbs that lasts forever. the intensity of the chocolate notes is remarkable. water does diminish the chocolate on the nose, leaving more room for some raspberry compote and more salted cashews, topped with a sprig of mint... more vegetal notes now: a brick of sun-dried peat, and a chunk of wood from yesterday's fire. the palate is also lighter on chocolate and heavier on salted nuts now, the herbal, peaty finish more pronounced. a joy at cask strength, if somewhat boisterous. water tames the beast a bit, but you lose some vibrancy and complexity. overall, a quality Bowmore. quite delicious, especially if you like them sweet.
Balvenie 'Tun 1401 Batch #6' (49.8%, OB, NAS, 750ml, 2012)
Rich Howard, the nose starts right in on orange citrus, warm and inviting vanilla creme and a touch of butter, fresh blueberries and raspberries, hints of mint, maybe the lightest of licorice, plenty of tannins and spices, and of course a backdrop of nicely toasted oak. an immediate hit of vanilla and oak on the palate (noticeably more than Batch #3; fewer sherry casks let the bourbon casks speak more freely), sweet citrus, cinnamon and nutmeg, and plenty of cough drop herbs. a drop of water releases a light grassiness on the nose, hints of Earl Grey tea even (must be the bergamot). after a few minutes, the sherry casks finally emerge and it stabilizes into fresh berries lightly dusted with powdered sugar. the palate still offers citrus and vanilla, a few berries, and the finish has grown even more herbal now. the nose is nicer with water, the palate without as it grows quite herbal.
Adelphi 14yo 1992/2007 'Breath of Islay' (56.5%, Adelphi, C#5347, 278 Bts.)
Rich Howard, the nose is immediately on gauze, light astringent and plenty of wood smoke, shoe leather and rubber car tier, but underneath it baked custard and overcooked milk in a saucepan. the palate is strong, with plenty of smoke, old denim, shoe leather, some mint and lemon citrus, but also an unexpected creamy sweetness, vanilla custard and even some cotton candy. water smooths out the nose, a bit less smoky now, but just enough, plenty of chalk now, some mint and even a hint of parsley, still a bit gauzy, and much of the sweeter scents are gone now. the palate still holds plenty of charred wood, much less sweet now and more savory with mushrooms and cooking herbs. a lovely mix of smoky and sweet, especially without water, more savory if water is added.
Balvenie 'Tun 1401 Batch #3' (50.3%, OB, NAS, 2012)
Rich Howard, the nose is simultaneously light and airy, and complex, a fresh fruit salad of apples, pears and white grapes, drizzled with honey and a dash of vanilla, with time some fresh bananas, just a hint of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and the perfect amount of toasted oak. the palate offers plenty of orchard fruits, with deeper notes of molasses and a touch of blueberry jam, plenty of spices and toasted oak. water warms up the nose considerably, all warm honey and vanilla buttercream now, fresh red apple lingering in the distance. more honey and vanilla on the palate now as well, against a backdrop of dark chocolate and dried fruits, and always that lovely layer of light herbs and toasted oak. an excellent Balvenie; try it with or without water. you won't be disappointed either way.
Glengoyne 'Teapot Dram' (58.8%, OB, NAS, Distillery Only, first fill sherry casks, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Rich, dark sherry with a tinge of copper - Nose: Very aromatic with lots of aged oak and English Christmas cake fruitiness, but yet lightly perfumed too. There's also a faint maritime presence reminding me of an old rickety Atlantic pier. Polished brass and copper too? Yes, I think so. - Palate: An initially smooth and creamy mouth-feel before a big dark fruit tingle storms the palate. Then followed by suggestions of chocolate and cappucino. Soooo good! - Finish: Long with that chocolate and cappucino. - Overall impression: This is good, very good as a perfect balance of aromas and flavours are delivery in a very sensual way. Must be a Great.
Glengoyne 12yo (43%, OB, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Bright cork - Nose: Lots of vanilla alongside a light woodiness, it's almost leafy but not quite. There's also a fruitiness - apple? Creamy too? Apple pie and custard anyone? - Palate: Yes, creamy vanilla here with the faintest hint of citrus, probably lemon. - Finish: Long - Overall impression: Nice, light and creamy mouth-feel with vanilla. Quite innocuous, quite good too.
Auchroisk 30yo (54.7%, OB, Special Release, American & European Oak Casks, 2976 Bts., 70cl, 2012)
Rich Howard, the broad strokes: fresh pears, stewed apricot, a touch of high-quality oak, hints of meyer lemon, spearmint leaves, plenty of holiday spices, a wash of field grasses.
Lagavulin 21yo 1991/2012 (52%, OB, Special Release, Sherry, 2772 Bts.)
Rich Howard, deep vegetal peat, old leather, plenty of soot, maple barbecue sauce with lingering wood smoke on the tail. the palate is simultaneously sweeter and smokier than the nose suggests, with honey glaze, burnt maple syrup, barbecue sauce, soot, old shoes, charred wood, lightly herbal on the long, long finish. a dash of water releases a dusky maltiness and even more maple syrup, fresh denim, cacao powder, black coffee and a small pile of dried leaves, a bonfire in the distance. the palate is likewise sweeter and smokier, singed waffles drizzles with maple syrup, and a smoldering piece of wine-soaked coal that sits on the middle of the tongue and won't go away, thank goodness.
Glen Spey 21yo 'Limited Edtion' (50.4%, OB, 5844 Bts., 70cl)
Rich Howard, on the nose, plenty of malty vanilla, deep and obvious notes of toffee, bread pudding, perhaps with a light citrus glaze on that. the palate follows suit, plenty of that malty vanilla, toffee and some tangy citrus. water brings out some orange peanut candy on the nose, the palate just full of a big bourbon-y vanilla and a cash of orange citrus.
Glenfarclas 20yo '105' (60%, OB, 2012*)
Rich Howard, an immediate hit of fresh blueberries and raspberries on the nose, followed by deeper notes of molasses, apple chutney, the pie crust for those fruits, a slight dustiness, black pepper, definitely some matchsticks lingering in the background on this one. the palate is rich and strong with blueberry compote, molasses, soot and leather, a trace of matchstick here as well, but less prominent than on the nose. water softens the fresh berries, and brings out the wood a bit, still a waft of gunpowder in the glass. the palate is quite spicy now, wildberry jam with peppers, maybe even a hint of chipotle, plenty of soot and the wood more prominent here now as well. absolutely delicious at cask strength; don't add water, especially if you are sensitive to sulfur notes on the palate.
Brora 35yo (48.1%, OB, Special Release, 1566 Bts., 70cl, 2012)
Rich Howard, the nose starts with semi-sweet fruits (white grapes, pineapple wedges), then moves quickly to unscented candle wax, a dash of olive oil, then moves on to fresh mint leaves, soot and strong vegetal notes on the tail, freshly sliced root vegetables and even some corn husk, with just a hint of marshmallow candy lingering throughout. after a few minutes, a waft of vanilla starts to emerge. the palate is brisk, with gentle citrus and pineapple turning quickly to spicy olive oil, fennel and ending on toasted oak, which is more in evidence on the palate than the nose. water opens up gentle orange citrus on the nose, infused with vanilla, but accents the candle wax as well, even some fresh linen now, plenty of red apple skins, still some fresh leaves and fresh oak. the palate is still on tangy citrus, olive oil and spiced wood. this is one to let sit and open up for quite some time.
Glenlivet 50yo 1938 (40%, Gordon & MacPhail, George & J.G. Smith's, 1989*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, wooded, kind of corked, not too much malt, not too much fruit, overnight bread, ripe apple, quite strange, weak, seems old, but not sure if that old, very light and dry, not current style. Very interesting experience, but probably not that attractive.
PLUSCARDEN VALLEY 36yo 1971 (44.3%, Silver Seal, 70cl, 2007*)
Ho-cheng Yao, Dark amber color, dried fruit, chocolate, heavily sherried, light smoke, plum, very oil, cake, very prune, weak, kind of disappoint.
Millburn 33yo 1974/2008 (55.1%, Blackadder RC, Hogshead, C#4617, 235 Bts., D11/'74 B02/'08)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden, Grassy, metallicquite some malty nose, floral, quite powerful, slight salty, palate is better than nose.
Millburn 1972/2006 (46%, G&M Licensed bottling)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow, quite light in style, old malt, barn, earthy, quite grassy, oil, simple, good, but still boring.
Millburn 1978/2008 (46%, Gordon & MacPhail Licensed Bottling)
Ho-cheng Yao, Light yellow, quite clear and oil, quite earthy and grassy, some kind of animal, light body, medium finish, malty sweet, form rusty nail palate, metallic, unique but probably not that attractive.
Glenfarclas 1971/2011 (51.6%, OB The Family Casks for The Whisky Shop Dufftown, D08/01/'71 B14/02/'11, C#152, 496 Bts., 700ml)
Ho-cheng Yao, Amber color, quite beautiful and oil, heavily sherried. with plum, chocolate, orange, dried fruits. aged Balsamic. Nice cookie and malty nose, crisp. Medium body, actually quite elegant in palate, no sulfur at all, medium long finish. Comparing mild as a Glenfarclas, yet last long. Need some time to open, Very enjoyable one, I like the palate.
Balvenie 32yo 1966/1998 'Vintage Cask' (42.6%, OB, Dis.05/'66, Btl.08/'98, C#6434, 270 Bts., 70cl)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, Lot's flower, honey, bee wax, red apple, creaming, malty, apple pie, rich and elegant, Balsamic vinegar. Medium light body, quite smooth and easy, medium finish. Easy going one, enjoyable, yet not that impressive.
Cutty Sark 'Prohibition Edition' (50%, OB, NAS, 2013)
Ho-cheng Yao, Golden yellow color, first impression with some smoky and plum like dry fruit, quite fruity with some malty grain, some pear with hint of cinnamon, more matured than expected. also with more fruitiness. Medium body, quite rounded in palate. actually taste very well. medium short finish. with extra strength this one actually taste much better. I like it. (Though it's still quite robust at the end, young.)
Tomintoul 45yo 1967/2012 (48.9%, Exclusive Malts for whisky.com Taiwan, D6/10/'67, refill hogshead, C#6579, 220 Bts.)
Keith Wood, The colour is also rich golden but the nose couldn't be more different; in fact I think I just cleaned and polished my dining room table with this, so strong is the initial burst of furniture polish. No, it's not bad, it's very good, just massively polished. As the polish settles I suddenly find a suggestion of well-baked jacket potato skin alongide some background fruitiness. As time passes the polish fades further and a gentle musty oakiness expands. The palate is different again with incredible intensity, lots of exotic fruitiness and even a suggestion of coconut. The fruitiness extends into the long and also intense finish. - My overall impression is one of a delightful, unassuming and awfully civilised dram. Good old high quality understatement:
Tomintoul 43yo 1969/2012 (47.6%, Liquid Sun, refill hogshead, 122 Bts.)
Keith Wood, having matured for 43 years in a refill hogshead this is wonderfully rich and golden in colour. As for the nose it's very aromatic with lightly perfumed notes, lots of vanilla alongside gentle hints of wood and even reminiscent of an evening rape field after a day of hot sunshine. That vanilla extends to the palate but is accompanied by a massive and exotic fruitiness akin to a cocktail of apricot, mango, papaya and maybe even galia melon. The finish is very long and also filled with that exotic fruitiness. - My overall impression is one of de-light-fulness, I love that fruitiness and would happily sit on the patio on a summer evening with a dram or three of this to keep me company. For MMA 2012 I scored this an excellent 86, but I'm now raising this by a couple of points to 88, so good it certainly is:
Glenrothes 42yo 1969/2012 (42.6%, Adelphi, C#2, 297 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Mahogany in my glass, does it stain? - Nose: Lots of aromatic toasted oakiness on the nose with hints of amaretto and some smoky woodiness in the background. Nice, very nice. - Palate: The palate initially abounds with creamy cherries, expanding to plums or damsons marinated in rich red wine. The overall effect is rich and deep, but very dry. - Finish: Very long and slightly dry. - Overall Impression: I generally tend to like Glenrothes at 17y or above and this is no exception as it's a very good whisky with lots of rich character and even a light smokiness. The only slight negative is the dryness, but it's still quite excellent.
Glendronach 'Cask Strength' (54.8%, OB, NAS, Batch #1, 70cl, 2012*)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Intriguing dark copper - Nose: the nose immediately offers dusty fudge with a slight dryness. Somehow this reminds me of a single cask rum. After some 10 minutes in the glass the nose expands to offer something indeed quite different which, after studying it for a few more minutes I can only describe as "baked pear wrapped in marzipan and served on a bed of Weetabix with a leaf or two of fresh spearmint". - Palate: richly fruity, abounding with figs, damson, dates and even a hint of Hoi-Sin sauce. - With 5 drops of water the nose turned more musty and nutty whilst the palate was slightly more sweet with a lightly peppered nuttiness. - A further 5 drops of water suddenly give the whisky a very maritime characteristic as it now suggests an old sea-soaked salty pier. - Finish: Long, sweet and fruity - Overall impression: A whisky which needs time and rewards when given it. Very nice.
Yamazaki 'Sherry Cask' (48%, OB, NAS, 2011*)
Keith Wood, ***Review for MMA 2011*** Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Mahogany bordering on ebony - Nose: Rich aged oak with slightly smoky nuances. Then dark fruits and almond with hints of coffee beans followed by the faintest hint of rubberiness. - Palate: Very soft and smooth in a rich kind of way with aged wood, rich dark fruits, nuts and lightly smoked wood. - Finish: Very long - Overall Impression: Another true 'Great' cask from Yamazaki. If you like sherried whisky this is a must! *** Review for MMA 2012*** Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Finest dark chocolate. - Nose: Lightly toasted raisins, dates and figs then freshly polished antique oak table. Dark chocolate and coffee beans but also lightly fruity. Quite simply amazing. - Palate: Espresso coffee, dark chocolate, coconut, all gently toasted. Delightful. - Finish: Extremely long, almost never ending. Ultimate and delightful. - Overall Impression: A truly amazing whisky with rich flavours and aromas, perfect for after-dinner with coffee and chocolate, or by the fireside on a winter evening. Delightful? Ultimate? Amazing? How about "Great"? Yes indeed.
Aultmore 5yo 2007/2012 (66.8%, Master of Malt, D12/3/'07 B5/'12, first fill sherry puncheon, 628 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Glowing amber - Nose: (Dry?) leafy vanilla, yes quite a dry sensation. A little difficult too; fruity? Not quite, musty? Not quite, floral? Maybe-ish.... - Palate: Oooh a wonderfully creamy (and smooth) mouth-feel followed quickly by a massively intense tingle and burst of pepperiness. Also pretty well everything from the nose appears on the palate. - Finish: Extremely long, floral, perfumed and very nice indeed. - Overall impression: Wow, the nose was a little difficult (for me), whereas the palate was just enormous. This is big, very big, very intense and very very good. Only 5 years old too.
Balmenach 32yo 1979/2012 (53.1%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 209 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: 9ct yellow gold - Nose: Nicely aromatic but just a little dry. There's an almost light leafiness initially present, maybe grainy bread, maybe even porridge oats? Also a gentle musky perfumed quality, lightly prefumed bread dough? Very pleasant and very different. - Palate: That perfumed bread dough-iness really comes to the fore on the palate alongside a fruitiness of apples, pears and cherries. It's quite mouth-coating too, chalky? Not really, coconut? - Finish: Long with some coconut right at the end. - Overall Impression: Excellent, very enjoyable. Gimme more.
Glenglassaugh 'Revival' (46%, OB, NAS, 2012)
Keith Wood, It has a pale yellow golden colour and the nose immediately exudes a rich malty fruitiness including what I can only describe as hints of bread dough and Atlantic driftwood. With time in the glass the Atlantic drift-woodiness fades to be replaced by a suggestion of red wine. The palate is richly fruity with damson & bramble (blackberry) jam alongside a quite solid burgundy wine presence which continues through the finish too.
Glenglassaugh 33yo 1978/2012 (44.8%, OB, Massandra Connection, Madeira style, D10/'78 B7/'12, 437 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Dark teak - Nose: Rich aged oak and leather, marinated (in red wine) nuts and that typical English Christmas cake style. There are also some lightly floral notes which really enhance the experience. - Palate: An initial creaminess to the mouth-feel followed by an intense fruitiness (think Plum, damson & bramble here) with those gentle floral background notes. - Finish: It just goes on and on and on ...... then a suggestion of coconut right at the end. - Overall Impression: Big and intense liquid luxury, I love it and a "Great" too.
Caol Ila 30yo 1980/2011 (56.3%, Maltbarn, ex-sherry butt, 66 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden dark amber - Nose: Oooh, coffee beans and dark chocolate alongside something intensely light and fresh. Nordic pine chips in a sauna? Then the fruitiness of summer berries. - Palate: That coffee, chocolate and slightly scorched Nordic pine just exploded onto the palate. - Finish: Extremely long with chili chocolate and summer berries. - Overall Impression: A totally amazing combination of goodies which wouldn't usually be associated together, but they work extremely well here. Great? maybe, not quite, but extremely close. I love it.
Glenturret 34yo 1977/2012 (48.4%, Maltbarn, bourbon barrel, 249 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Golden yellow - Nose: Aromatic fruit with a hint of farminess. Perhaps raspberry with a suggestion of mandarin? Then maybe hints of milky liquorice? Somehow this appears to be constantly changing, but I love it. - Palate: That fruitiness and milkiness are really at the fore here. Can I suggest a large fruit cocktail in cream or custard? - Finish: Long, gentle, fruity. - Overall Impression: A very gentle fruity cocktail, one to accompany good discussion by an open fire in winter. Excellent, I love it.
Clynelish 15yo 1995/2011 (46%, Whisky & Rhum, D22/9/'95 B25/8/'11, first fill sherry butt, C#8657, 384 Bts.)
Keith Wood, Glass: Classic Malt - Colour: Light amber - Nose: Grilled sausages? Not really, but almost as it's rich and 'meaty'. Dare I once again suggest "herb crust on a Sunday roast"? - Palate: More dark fruitiness than Sunday roast. Raisins, currants, almonds, even hints of dark chocolate and freshly ground coffee beans. - Finish: Long, very long, very rich and very intense. - Overall Impression: What started out as a Sunday roast turned rich and fruity with a suggestion of chocolate and coffee. Nice.