20 January 2014
Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey 12yo Cask Strength Edition 59.9% Batch#B1/13
Heavily soaked sherry trifle with dark liquid toffee ladled over the sponge and a sprinkling of Demerara sugar. Almost impossible to taste this dram with a nose like this-deeply rich and fruity, Ribena and exotically sweet. Can any whisk(e)y smell better than this??
The delivery mirrors the nose but is boosted on the palate with warm, rich honeycomb, then mocha, dark chocolate with coffee bean granules and an eternally long blackcurrant and chocolate finish.
In a nutshell, as the title suggests, this is a WOW! whiskey of note...the best Irish in my book. 96
16 January 2014
Beautifully located, the Isle of Arran distillery, although only 18 years old is wholly focused on wood management.....
Isle of Arran Single Malt "Cask Finishes" The Port Cask 50%
Pomegranate, guava, strawberry fruit gums on the nose with a sweetly honeyed red fruit stew and a hint of musty, moist European oak.
Red, royal and robust, richly sweet, full bodied and oily coating on the tongue, there is hot peppery spice, sweet red ruby grapefruit and a lingering dry vinous finish-a delicious dram! A dash of water sweetens the red berried mix with a vanilla dusting of stewed cranberries, allowing the port cask character to emerge. Stunning! 87
11 December 2013
Longrow Red 11yo Single Malt 53.7% Six Years in Refill Bourbon & Five Years in Australian Shiraz Casks-Only 9000 Bottles Released Worldwide
A red-berried fruit cake that has been left in a smoker for a few days; in a nutshell, fruity sweet 'n peat and red liquorice!
The palate mirrors the nose with the sweetest red berry and vanilla, teasing and exciting the tip of the tongue and then lingering into the mid palate with cake spice but the dominance of the peat takes over with dark toffee and liquorice
laced with tarry ropes and molten wellies leaving a lasting, gorgeous mouth feel begging you for another sip. Astonishing dram and my pick for Wild about Whisky's peated whisky of the year. 93
04 December 2013
Tomatin Distillery visitor's centre.
The early history of the distillery can be traced back to the 15th century, when drovers and weary travellers would pause here on their journey and fill up their whisky flasks from a still, close to the Laird's house.
By 1974, producing some 13 million litres a year, the distillery was the largest in Scotland and by 1986 was the first distillery to be Japanese owned. Today producing nearly 2 million litres a year it is one of the largest producers of malt whisky in Scotland.
Tomatin Legacy Single Malt 43% Virgin Oak & Ex-Bourbon Casks
Dominant tropical top notes of pineapple and Cape gooseberry with a light dusting of lemon and vanilla icing sugar, clean and fresh with the barley sweet and malty in the background.
A gorgeously sweet, velvety and oily texture, the body surprisingly viscous and rich, liqueur-like, with lemon butter, lemon zest, a light peppery spice and a lingering dry cider finish. A dash of aqua boosts the lemon and pineapple components. A spectacular and delicious dram. 86
Tomatin 12yo Single Malt 43% First Fill, Refill American Oak and Spanish Sherry Butts, Then Married Exclusively in Spanish Sherry Butts Prior to Bottling.
Honeycomb and oak, buttery with sweet lemon zest on the nose, the barley sugar sweet and scented with lemon cream biscuit and then eventually toffee.
Thin but vanilla sweet, the mid palate charcoal and oaky, wooded and spicy, the finish nutty and vinous. A few drops of water release the orchard fruits coated with lemon vanilla and introduces the 18yo style of ruby grapefruit on the finish. 85
Tomatin 18yo Single Malt 46% 18 Years in American Refill Oak Then Married in Oloroso Sherry Butts Prior to Bottling-Non Chill Filtered.
A vanilla-laced red-berried stew. Cranberries dominate with honey soaked greengages and toffee apple, then the malt and the sweetest lemon citrus appear.
Sweetly honeyed on the tongue , then a mid palate of lemon spice, drying to a wooded fino and red ruby grape fruit finish.87
Tomatin Cu Bocan Single Malt 46% Peated to 15ppm Matured in a Mix of Virgin, Ex-Bourbon and Spanish Sherry Casks-Non Chill Filtered
Pink sweets and over ripe fruits of banana, pear and apple hit the top notes...the fruit has been knocked off the trees but there is an abundance of jasmine around this orchard. The barley is profound and starts to dominate with lashings of lemon custard. Hints of cardamom and clove seep into this syrupy sweet stew with a topping of lemon meringue.
Deliciously and moreishly citrus sweet on the palate, this is a work of art, an exquisite balance of the sweetest lemon vanilla and soft spicy oak.
This whisky should have a warning sticker on the bottle..."HIGHLY ADDICTIVE"!!
P.s. Best sampled neat and naked....90
01 November 2013
Ardbeg on the summit of Kilimanjaro
Ardbeg 1999 First Fill Bourbon 54.6%
This could only be a classic Ardbeg in all its elemental livery on the nose.
The instant hit of pear drops and vanilla juxtaposed by the salty sea breezes and the creosote covered kelp with top notes of sweet new paint..
Sweet 'n succulent, then hot'n spicy on the palate, with a lick of hot wellies, this is not a wham, bam, thank you dram, this is an Islay malt showing heaps of peated sophistication. An Ardbeg for our whisky times.
This dram is an exquisite balance of sweet, softly yielding vanillas and maritime salted seaweed...an exemplary smoky vanilla ice-cream! 94
07 October 2013
Yuan Shan Distillery
Situated just one hour outside Taipei, the first distillation took place only in 2006 and since then are arguably producing some of the finest single malts on this planet. With an angel's share of at least 15% due to the heat and humidity, cooler mountain storage is required to prevent any further divine intervention of this unique and wonderful spirit.
Kavalan Concertmaster Single Malt 43% Finished in Ruby,Tawny & Vintage Port Barriques
Sweetly stewed red berries, cranberries dominating with rich rumtopf and red liquorice on the nose.
Thin on the tongue but toffee-sweet with iced mocha, chili chocolate and a lingering malt and vinous finish.
Moreish, delicious and a nicely balanced malt. 86
Kavalan Single Malt 43% Matured in Fresh Bourbon, Fresh Sherry, Refill Bourbon, Spanish Red Wine & Portuguese White Wine Casks.
Floral top notes on the nose, of jasmine and strawberry flavoured chewy sweets, with toffee and barley humming sweetly in the depths.
Oily texture on the palate, the fruit and malt more evident with spice and dark chocolate on the mid palate, the finish short with red grapefruit. 82
Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Single Malt 58.8% Cask#B070611012 Bottle No. 008/209 Bottled 02/07/2010
Molten toffee and malted barley dominate the nose with floral freesia top notes and sweet pears.
Fudge-sweet on the tip of the tongue, the abv ambushes the mid palate, combustive and salt-laden, leaving a short barley-infused chenin blanc on the short finish.
One of the few cask cask strength expressions that exceeds expectations when a dash of water is added, particularly on the palate. Now the toffee vanillas are boosted tenfold, taming the explosive mid palate, the finish still short, vinous and salty but now well balanced with the rest of the palate. Delicious! 89
Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Single Malt 58.6% Cask#5060904046 Bottle No.22/180
Poached plums and stewed prunes, pressed raisins and sultanas, inky molasses, a hint of tobacco and liquorice, a cornucopia of dark and red fruits dusted with sweet spice mesmerise the nose.
Rich, robust with spicy red berries, the palate mimics the nose creating a perfect balance. There is sweet sherry on the tip of the tongue, then a hot stew of plums and prunes drying to a heavy European wooded finish, the raisins lingering on for eternity.
I tend to drink these magnificent creations neat as they tend to reflect the essence of a distillery but a little water brings out an interesting hint of the sweetest Bowmore, while the rumtopf fruits are now wrapped in dark chocolate. 97
Do sherry bombs get any better than this? Karuizawa has always been the reference for whiskies like this but the Solist Sherry is sublimely the best....
17 September 2013
Situated near the village of Keith in the Speyside area, Aultmore's production of malt mostly goes into the various Dewar's blends, consequently Aultmore single malts are very scarce. Interestingly the distillery, in the early 1950's, pioneered the production of "dark grains" or protein-rich animal feed,from the waste products of the pot ale and draff.
Aultmore 1997 16yo Berry's 43% Bottled 2013 Cask#3584 Non chill-filtered/No colouring
Sweet meadow grass, malted barley and honey cereal with lemon curd dominating this honeysweet dram on the nose.
Viscous and velvety, with honeycomb coating the palate, the liquor dries on the tongue after a wash of lemon schnapps, leaving a red grapefruit and almond finish.
This dessert-wine style of Speyside whisky is best drunk neat as water tends to bitter the aftertaste. 84