Tasting: Tomatin 1991 21 years by C&S

Tomatin 1991 21 years by C&SDram data:
Distillery: Tomatin
Bottler: C&S dram collection
Distilled: 05.06.1991
Bottled: 17.01.2013
Age: 21 years
Limitation: single cask
Casks: Sherry butt 12488
Alcohol: 55,7%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
light gold
The nose is rather light on the first sniff, but it’s a few years old, so let’s set the glass aside for a couple of minutes. 10 minutes later: Ah! That’s better! Mmmmmhhhh… old, aged whisky in its best years, balance between subtle cask influence and spirit character. Read More »

Tasting: Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sample

 Octomore 2008 Virgin Oak cask sampleDram data:
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: official
Distilled: 2008
Bottled: sample drawn 2015
Age: 7-ish
Limitation: unavailable
Casks: virgin oak cask 1202
Alcohol: 64,4%%
unchillfiltered and natural colour

Tasting notes:
Colour:
dark amber
So Bruichladdich has done it again! The latest Octomore 7.4 “virgin oak” release is out. Well, all virgin oak? Nopedy nope! Only 25% of the liquid is actual full-time virgin oak matured. I haven’t got a sample of that one and a full bottle might exceed my budget, so let’s rummage through my sample cabinet – I think there might be something similar. Hey! What’s that? A 2008 virgin oak Octomore cask sample, drawn from the cask for the 2015 Feis Ile warehouse tasting with Jim McEwan. That’s the ticket! Uncut, unblended, let’s see what it’s like! On the nose there’s not that much peat. Well, that’s not surprising if you look at Bruichladdich’s stills, they produce a much lighter distillate than, say Laphroaig or Ardbeg. Still quite a lot of peat, but not overwhelming and that’s good! A slight alcoholic tingling, but you’d never guess this was 64% ABV! Very well-integrated! Fresh vanilla, vanilla pods, toasted cask, caramelised oak sap, Lapsang Souchong (unboilt), burning oak staves and a coal-fired steam engine squirting oil around, burnt toffee, heather, ginger, slightly toasted orange peel and a squirt of citrus providing a hint of distillery character. Read More »

Tasting: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select 13-0919

Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select 13-0919Dram data:
Distillery: Jack Daniel’s
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2013 (13-0919)
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: fresh barrel
Alcohol: 45%
filtered and uncoloured

Tasting notes:
Colour:
amber
With single malt prices going up, up, up, it’s well worth looking at malternatives. I consider this a malternative. Whether it’s an alternative remains to be seen – so let’s stick our nose in! Oh, hello there, acetone! It’s not officially considered an off-note, but I don’t like it – at least it’s only light and vanishes after about 15 minutes in the glass. Phew. A high-corn mashbill meets a fresh cask – strong vanilla flavours with sweet corn, caramel, molasses, burnt sugar and rye spices. Read More »

Tasting: The Highlander NAS by Single Cask Collection

The Highlander NASDram data:
Distillery: undisclosed
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2012 (CSC1-2012)
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
most likely chill filtered and coloured

Tasting notes:
Colour:
orang-ey amber
Right. So we’ve got a “Single malt Scotch whisky” in the glass and that’s the only thing we know about it. Despite the name “The Highlander” I don’t know whether it actually is from a Highland distillery but chances are high since the Highlands also include the Speyside region. Well – there’s no other way to find out other than sticking my nose into the glass! Right off the bat the nasal receptors say “Clynelish”. A creamy, light vanilla-fudge note (as is so common these days) accompanied by the dirty, waxy, oily Clynelish character. I could be wrong, it could be the cask, we’ll never know, but that’s the type. Speaking about cask: It feels too round to be a single cask, there’s both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon in the mix. Read More »

Blind tasting: Penderyn NAS Single Bourbon cask B227

Penderyn NAS Single Bourbon cask B227Dram data:
Distillery: Penderyn
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: ex-bourbon
Alcohol: 63,2%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
white wine
The nose is… wait, err, are we sure this is whisky? Something tells me there’s an additional “e” in the name or is the reused Crown Royal bottle just there to deceive me? There’s a fake perfumey, artificially sweet dominant vanilla note right at the front, which, thank god, fades after a few minutes but still stays present. Vanilla, old banana, limoncello, neroli, orangey ladies perfume, coconut, caramelised ginger, toffee, orange Haribo gummi bears and, well, toasted american oak “spices” with a cooling alcoholic sensation.
Read More »

Tasting: Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’s

Caol Ila 1995 20 yo by Cadenhead’sDram data:
Distillery: Caol Ila
Bottler: Cadenhead’s
Distilled: 1995
Bottled: 10.2015
Age: 20 years
Limitation: 564 bottles
Casks: Butt
Alcohol: 57.7%
Unchillfiltered, uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
white wine
Seems like yesterday since I last tasted a refill-Butt 20-ish Caol Ila. I was very fond of the last one so there’s certainly no harm in trying another! The nose is… rather gentle and delicate, actually. Very little alcohol despite nearly 58% ABV with a light and delicate peat smoke – almost a Bowmore-ish flowery note (burning lavender and violets?). Slightly damp cotton candy, diluted honey, almost faded Italian orange blossoms, citrus juice with bits and peel, an oak board in a florist’s shop and highland honey so faint you’re wondering if the bees made it through the summer. Read More »

2015 in review, my personal whisky awards and an outlook of what’s coming in 2016

2015 in review

Wolfburn: The two whiskies we got to taste

Wolfburn: one of the distilleries we’ve visited in 2015

2015 was a schizophrenic year. It was a great one and a bad one. Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we?
I managed to churn out 117 whisky reviews – that amounts to about one review every three days. I’m quite happy with that and although other bloggers get much more done I prefer to take it easy and be thorough – and that can mean taking two hours just to write about one whisky. Quality, not quantity, both in my writing and in my consumption of alcohol.
I attended only two whisky festivals, the biannual Vienna whisky festival and the Finest Spirits in Munich. Both are fantastic ways to meet fellow whisky enthusiasts, try good malts and make new friends, but at least Munich was so crowded it was almost too much to bear. At times one couldn’t even move. Talking about crowded: I expected Feis Ile 2015 to be much more crowded than it was. Sure enough, there were many people there, but the limited housing and ferry capacities put a cap on the number of visitors – and that’s a good thing. My first Feis and probably not my last, though I prefer visiting Islay in the quieter months. Nonetheless, Feis Ile was a big party, meeting many people – old friends and new ones – and bonds for life were formed. Not a day goes by when I don’t think back! Read More »

24 drams till Christmas tasting #24: Bunnahabhain 1988 24 yo by Signatory Vintage

Bunnahabhain 1988 24 yo by Signatory VintageDram data:
Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Distilled: 10.10.1988
Bottled: 30.07.2013
Age: 24 years
Limitation: 588 bottles
Casks: refill Sherry Butt
Alcohol: 55,9%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: amber
How fitting! A 24 yo single malt whisky to conclude the 24 drams till Christmas series! This better be a good one for a great finish or I’ll have to extend it to 25 days… The nose starts off slightly alcoholic but there’s greatness underneath! Classic European oak sherry cask matured whisky – post Paxarette! Spices up front – cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg. The cask is strong with this one (excuse the Star Wars pun…), no oaky notes, just letting the spices talk. Read More »

24 drams till Christmas tasting #23: Arran Amarone Finish NAS

Arran Amarone Finish NASDram data:
Distillery: Arran
Bottler: Original bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2013
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Amarone finish
Alcohol: 50%
unchillfiltered; uncoloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: amber with cherry juice
The red wine finish is very apparent on the nose! An initial blast of fresh citrus fruits (ripe oranges and tangerines) with red fruits (cherries, brambles, strawberries, cassis) and cask spices (allspice, cloves). Initially I was not a fan, the freshly opened bottle was a tad too young, but it improved greatly with oxygenation. Adding a tablespoon of water and time in the glass helps to bring out the fruits even more.
Read More »

24 drams till Christmas tasting #22: Double Barrel Highland Park + Bowmore 10 yo

Double Barrel Highland Park + Bowmore 10 yoDram data:
Distillery: Highland Park / Bowmore
Bottler: Douglas Laing
Distilled: –
Bottled: 2009
Age: 10
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 46%
unchillfiltered; natural colour
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour: straw
The nose is very light and gentle – quite surprising, to be honest. One would expect greater, bolder things. Light and fragrant peat smoke with burning lavender in the mix, a slight perfume note, vanilla pudding where the cook was very stingy with the sugar and the vanilla, the same cook also overly diluted the honey with sugar water (again, being stingy with the sugar) and had just a pinch of coconut and ripe pineapple left.
Read More »

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