Tasting: Balblair 2003 – 2013 1st release

Balblair 2003 - 2013 1st releaseDram data:
Distillery: Balblair
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: 2003
Bottled: 2013
Age: ca. 10 years
Limitation: –
Casks: ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
white wine
The nose is just as one would imagine a 10-year-old Highland malt from ex-bourbon casks to be. Notes of citrus, sweet vanilla pudding, malt extract on the first nosing. Not too shy thanks to the 46% bottling strength, but not too overpowering either. Continue reading

Blind tasting: Glen Ardoch NAS (Deanston)

Glen Ardoch (Deanston) NASDram data:
Distillery: Deanston
Bottler: bottled under the “Glen Ardoch” brand
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2015-ish
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
Probably chill filtered; unknown colouring status
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
gold
The nose is pretty light and shy, classic young mostly refill ex-bourbon style. Vanilla, apples, pears, a touch of malt, more vanilla (pudding), oranges, eucalyptus, white pepper and light green leaves. There’s also something in the background which I just can’t put my finger on (it’s industrial waxy-ish but not full-on wax…) and which I just recently encountered in a Deanston. Continue reading

Tasting: Benromach 15y

Benromach 15Dram data:
Distillery: Benromach
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: 2000-ish
Bottled: 2015
Age: 15 years
Limitation: –
Casks: 9 years ex-bourbon, 6 years ex-sherry
Alcohol: 43%
Probably chill filtered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
deep red gold
The nose opens on a rich, sweet and creamy note with a faint layer of fragrant smoke in the background. Sweet sherry mixes with hints of vanilla, figs, dates, fresh sweet strawberries, sweet dark cherries, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, cloves, allspice a noticeable (but well-integrated) plain oak wood note and faint cough lozenges.

Continue reading

Tasting: Rowan’s Creek Bourbon batch 13-19

Rowan's Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon WhiskeyDram data:
Distillery: undisclosed, made for Kentucky Bourbon Distillers
Bottler: Original Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2013 / batch 13-19
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Fresh barrels
Alcohol: 50,05%
uncoloured by law
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
amber
The nose suggests a high-corn mashbill, lots of typical sweet corn notes dominate the nose, paired with loads of vanilla, roasted caramel, baked apples, sweet + sour cherries and assorted spices. A harmonic mixture between the spirit character, the sweet, the sour and the spicy notes, even though it’s not too complex. No acetone note, thank god. Continue reading

NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Macallan 10yo Fine Oak vs. Macallan Gold

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the first pair of whiskies: The Macallan 10 yo Fine Oak vs. their NAS Gold edition. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A5A: Macallan 10yo Fine Oak
Distillery: Macallan
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014
Age: 10yo
Limitation: –
Casks: Bourbon+Sherry
Alcohol: 40%
chillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
straw
We’re back to the very light and faint noses. Classic style, vanilla, honey, a light creamy pudding note, eucalyptus, glucose-laden tinned fruits, sweet white grapes, dark oranges and faint notes of malt. Getting less fruity and quite a bit more malty as time progresses. Continue reading

NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Cardhu 12 yo vs. Amber Rock

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the first pair of whiskies: The Cardhu 12yo vs. their NAS Amber Rock edition. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A4A: Cardhu Amber Rock
Distillery: Cardhu
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014-2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Bourbon + toasted oak finish
Alcohol: 40%
most likely chill filtered and coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
gold
The nose opens with a rich and creamy note of vanilla and fruits. Oranges, orange rind, ripe pears, lots of apricots, fully ripe peaches, almost over-ripe Kiwi (including slightly bitter notes of Kiwi kernels), raisins and a top note of ginger. Maybe a very faint note of smoke – 2ppm-ish, but it could also stem from the casks. No european oak notes, though, probably American Oak Ex-Sherry casks? Just pure speculation – it is a blind tasting after all. Continue reading

NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Glenlivet 12yo vs. Founder’s Reserve

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the thirdd pair of whiskies: The Glenlivet 12yo vs. their NAS Founder’s Reserve. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A3A: Glenlivet 12yo
Distillery: Glenlivet
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014-2015
Age: 12yo
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
chillfiltered; coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
gold
The nose opens with a delicate, sweet note of vanilla and honey. Summer fruits as well, although subdued. Oranges, sweet pears, red apples, ripe white grapes and a slight spice (ginger?) in the background Continue reading

NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Dalmore 12yo vs. Valour

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the first pair of whiskies: The Dalmore 12yo vs. their NAS Valour edition. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A2A: Dalmore 12yo
Distillery: Dalmore
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2014-2015
Age: 12yo
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
dark red gold (as fake as can be)
The nose opens initially light and alcoholic. Light vanilla, orange juice, orange rind, green apples, peppermint, with a profound sweetness (molasses and caramelised ginger?) in the background and also a light rubbery note. Getting sweeter and darker as time goes on with dried fruits appearing in the mix. Continue reading

NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Glen Moray 12yo vs. Port Cask Finish

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the first pair of whiskies: The Glen Moray 12yo vs. their NAS Port Cask Finish edition. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A1A: Glen Moray Port Cask Finish
Distillery: Glen Moray
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2014 – 2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Port Cask Finish
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; probably coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
pale straw
The nose opens very light and shy. Predominately vanilla (pudding) and honey. Some light fruit notes as well – fresh grapes, red apples, banana chips, freshly squeezed oranges. The alcohol is noticeable (a eucalyptus note) but I wouldn’t put it at more than 40% ABV due to the very light nose, it would benefit from more oomph. The fruity notes fade over time and reveal a more malty side. Continue reading

Visiting Wolfburn – the most notherly distillery on the Scottish mainland

Who’s heard of Thurso before? Besides those on the way to catch a ferry to the Orkneys? I guess not many. So where exactly is it? Well, it’s a beautiful 2,5 hour drive north of Inverness and the largest most northerly city/town in mainland Scotland with about 9000 inhabitants. And, since 2013, there’s also a whisky distillery (again), Wolfburn, named after and situated besides the place where there once was a distillery by the same name (and using the same water source, the Wolf Burn) in the 1800s . Not much is known about the old distillery, so let’s talk about the new one:

Wolfburn distillery - the sight as you enter the production building

Wolfburn distillery – the sight as you enter the production building

Founded by a private group of investors, including a man from the Caithness area, wherein Thurso lies, it was built in a very short period of time between August 2012 and January 2013, with the first spirit flowing on the 25th of January 2013. To pull all of this off, they hired Shane Fraser, previously production manager at Glenfarclas, to oversee the design, building and running of the place and to this date the distillery is run by Shane and colleague Iain, previously with Balmenach. Continue reading