Friday, 27 March 2020

Springbank 18 & 11 Refill Sauternes Single Cask Reviews

Hi everyone,

Another duo today! This time it’s Springbank’s turn.
It has taken me far too long to get round to trying the 18yo. I can get pretty expensive and although I’d heard that it was great, I didn’t want to risk forking out on a bottle. So I waited patiently but just never got round to it or saw it many places.
I also recently tried a official single cask for the USA.

Springbank 18 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Robust and chiselled, smoky coals, dried apple, musty leather, a little tobacco and cigar smoke, subtle dried banana, standing outside a smoking room, old cigarette smoke.
Taste: Oily with building spices tingling and dry oak, lots of black pepper, a bit industrial with concrete dust and chalky minerality, some dust and leather and old smoke.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Softer, more tobacco and leather here but fades quite quickly.
Shame about the short finish. Everything else is pretty well balanced and interesting, if a little austere.
79/100
 
Springbank 11 Refill Sauternes 57.2%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Soapy but in a really cool way, raisin and passion fruit, rich apricot, dirty orange, good sulphur, dried lavender, bath bombs, intense and full on.
Taste: Soft and oily, orange and mango, super good balance on arrival, great mouthfeel, fruity and intense, soapy again but again it’s good and interesting. Some spices come through towards the end, black pepper and a tiny whiff of smoke.
Finish: Medium/Long length. More soapy here, almost overwhelming it, softer then comes back with the oils.
Nov 2007, bot Nov 2018 from a single refill Sauternes cask, bottled for USA. Some people are gonna hate this, but I love it. Really interesting and full on, in-your-face whisky that grabs your tongue and won’t let go until it’s done with you.
86/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #851-#852
Whisky Network Reviews #1023-#1024

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Laphroaig 16 & 1999 SMWS 29.173 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Two 16 year old Laphroaig’s to review today.
I was excited for the new OB as it’s a decent age, decent strength and Laphroaig. The only thing that grates me slightly is that I paid £20 less for the 18yo, but that was a few years ago now and such is life.
And since we seem to be in the middle of a little apocalypse I opened a 16yo Laphroaig from SMWS that we can compare against.

Laphroaig 16 48%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Nice mineral/seaweedy blast, soft vanilla, soft malt, plenty of peat and iodine, fresh bandages, clean classic Laphroaig. Great nose.
Taste: Soft and oily arrival, building mineral and medicinal flavours, iodine, bandages and honey, then more fruit with a fresh lemon/lime and under ripe mango thing, then back to more peat with sea soaked rocks drying in the sun.
Finish: Medium/Long length. A touch of rubber into the finish then salt and pepper, quite dry. Not as good here.
Finish lets it down a little but a great, slightly softer Laphroaig. Much prefer this to the 15yo 200th Anniversary.
77/100

Laphroaig 1999 SMWS 29.173 59.8%
'Forget time and space'
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Fresher and fruitier than expected with plenty of citrus, lime rind, grapefruit juice, light malty smoke backing it, salty samphire, driftwood bonfire. There is a medicinal touch to it but its quite subtle and in the background, clean bandages.
Water: Loses the fruit and now it's more about the earthy malt, mud after rain, the orange is coming back now.
Taste: Clean arrival, very bright and citrusy, then suddenly grips the tongue with heavy heavy smoke with lots of minerality and salt, licking salty rocks, sand saturated with sea water, samphire, grapfruit and dirty orange, stunning oils and really lovely balance.
Water: Softer and more fruity with an incredible orange flesh thing I remember from samples at the distillery, some seaweed, soft but heavy smoke. Takes me right back to the distillery.
Finish: Long length. More petrol-y here, delicious and super oily, a little lemon zest perhaps. With water there's a coal and ash thing going on.
Bottled at 16yo from a refill Bourbon barrel. The whisky I got for my engagement! Just fantastic indie Laphroaig, oily, balanced, citrusy, salty, a little medicinal. Not quite the equal of ‘Sausage Sandwiches and Oil Rigs’.
87/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #849-#850
Whisky Network Reviews #1021-#1022

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Tomatin Decades II & 30yo Reviews

Hi everyone,

Hope everyone is staying safe and as virusless as possible.
Got some of the slightly more expensive Tomatin’s to brighten your day today! The original version of Decades is not something that I tried but I love the idea of multi-vintage vattings where the components are listed in detail with as much info as possible and this is what Tomatin have given us. So I was quite excited for Decades II when it came out recently as I’m also a fan of Tomatin in general after a great distillery tour there on my stag.

Tomatin Decades II 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Fruity and complex with a little interesting off note. Very slightly lactic with milk bottle sweets, dusty apple, cola bottle, a bit of rubber (maybe the Sherry finished stuff? I tend to find that Sherry finished Tomatin can go a bit rubbery).
Taste: Fruity arrival, fresh with green apple, stewed pears, some melon, long development though the lactic note makes an appearance, lots of honey.
Finish: Long length. Woody honey, silky old oak, some delicate malt and a bit of rubber again.
Undoubtedly some great casks went in here (you can find the breakdown here) but ends up as a bit of a jumble. Perhaps there was also a tired cask or two. I have found that with multi-vintage vattings, sometimes less is more as the individual casks have more of a chance to stand out. Deanston did it well with their Decennary release which was only 4 casks, this was 21 in total.
74/100

Tomatin 30 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Wonderfully tropical, fresh pineapple, orange slices, some darker malt and tobacco, white chocolate, some exotic spices hiding behind with something almost savoury- coriander. Complex.
Taste: Soft and woody start, fruity with coriander again, red and green apple, spiced pears, then darker with malt and chocolate, nice soft long development.
Finish: Medium length. Lovely balance and mouthfeel here, fading fruit, leather and tobacco.
Tried this twice before but never had the chance to make notes. A good old whisky, though lacking a bit of wow factor.
82/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #847-#848
Whisky Network Reviews #1019-#1020

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Paul John Oloroso & PX Select Reviews

Hi everyone,

Paul John seems to have gone from strength to strength with its special editions and they’ve come out with two new ones that are a bit more heavily Sherried than their normal stuff, which I was really excited about!
Not sure how widely distributed these are going to be or if they are limited but they came out here in the UK a few weeks ago.
Anyway, let’s see how they taste…

Paul John Oloroso Select 48%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Full of rich Sherry and spicy oak, loads of complex orange, orange blossom, orange marmalade, black pepper, fresh ginger.
Taste: Immediately drying with more sweet elements developing. Loads of orange, spicy with black pepper and grapefruit, ginger, orange marmalade,
Finish: Medium/Long length. Lovely, darker and more malty, slightly burnt chocolate.
4 year finish. I really like this. You have to enjoy spicy whisky but it works really well. Impressive and fun.
78/100
 
Paul John PX Select 48%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Sweeter than the Oloroso but more Paul John character too, thick raisin and prune, figs, but also some corn (which I often get from PJ), resinous and oily, something herbal coming out, maybe basil or coriander. Black coffee too. Butter.
Taste: Thick and sweet, stewed raisin and prune, fig, lots of sweet Sherry, then goes into more spicy and dry woodiness, little herbal, basil?
Finish: Medium/Long length. Black pepper and ginger spice, late orange.
Very rich Sherry bomb but with something different. If you like your sweet Sherry character, you’ll love this. I prefer this to the Oloroso but only by a little. Think this one was also a touch more expensive.
79/100

Thanks for reading!

Indian Reviews #15-#16
Whisky Network Reviews #1017-#1018

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Arran 10, 18, 21, Sherry Cask & The Bothy Reviews

Hi everyone,

Got a few Arran’s for you today! Gotta say, I love the new packaging and range. The new bottles have a great look and feel, though of course its the juice that we’re really interested in. Plenty of the new stuff seems darker, with more sherry casks in the mix of the usual age statement range.
Having started in 1995, it is now Arran’s 25th Anniversary, which should bring some exciting things as well.
If memory serves, my first experience of Arran was the 12yo cask strength, which I found very solid but isn’t around anymore. Since then I’ve always found Arran to be very dependable, quality malt.

Arran 10 (2019) 46%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: A sweet shop that only sells gummy sweets, some kiwi, keylime pie, whipped cream, very fresh and bright.
Taste: Malty and soft then a big hit of fresh fruit, melon and apple, gummy sweets but goes a bit rubbery.
Finish: Short/Medium length. More rubbery here with some malt and apple.
Fresh and malty, kept back a little by the rubbery notes that I seem to be very sensitive to.
66/100
 
Arran 18 (2019) 46%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Bright cherry, malt and chocolate. A heavier, almost meaty Arran. Toffee apple, a little gravy maybe, some vanilla, a little creamy.
Taste: Malty arrival, raspberry and cherry, again quite heavy and thick, almost Mortlachian, then some unfortunate rubber. Seems that the sherry wasn't quite perfect.
Finish: Short length. A little of that rubber and cherry but another short finish...
This was so almost so damn good. A Mortlach of an Arran ruined by the rubber and short finish. Fun whisky though.
74/100
 
Arran 21 (2019) 46%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Malty and robust with plenty of fruit, red apple, spearmint, herbal pockets, wild strawberry, dark chocolate truffles, all nicely in balance and expressive.
Taste: Soft arrival, really good, chocolate and malt, a little orange, wild strawberry, dry oak, some leather, goes a bit flat into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. A bit flatter here with oak and a little chocolate.
Would be in the 80's if the finish hadn't let it down. Nose is the star here.
76/100
 
Arran Sherry Cask 'The Bodega' 55.8%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Ethereal rather than a full on Sherry bomb, actually a bit medicinal, cherry cough sweets, cherry lip gloss, something slightly mouldy? Interesting nose.
Taste: Sharp and sweet, medicinal again, cough syrup, raisin and prune, plum, quite fruity and something more oily as it develops. A bit of rubber near the finish.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Fades quicker than expected. Fruity with some rubber.
Not completely pleasant but very interesting whisky.
71/100
 
Arran The Bothy Batch 3 53.2%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Slightly tropical, austere, lemon, butterscotch biscuits, some nettle and mint, creamy vanilla.
Taste: Soft and creamy, biscuit, malt, lemon, dark chocolate, some leather, really nicely balanced, oily into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. Very oily here with more creamy biscuits.
Quarter casks used. Similar to the Wolfburn Langskip.
75/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #842-#846
Whisky Network Reviews #1012-#1016

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Talisker 15 (Special Releases 2019) Review

Hi everyone,

The 2019 Diageo Special Releases rolled around again to much fanfare and fanciness, as it does every year. And as it did, two things caught my attention; the prices had taken another jump upwards and the packaging had taken a turn for the worse.
The 12 peated Cragganmore looked interesting but was £110, the same as this Talisker, which I also liked the look of. What I don’t like is that Talisker 18 I got for £60 a few years ago, the 2014 Lagavulin 12 for £80. So this years special releases can be as amazing as they want, but they’ve left behind the reasonable prices that I am willing to pay for them.

Talisker 15 Special Releases 2019 57.3%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Robust but closed at first. Sea spray and engine oil, more like a Springbank! Dried orange, old spice box, liquorice, salty dried fish.
Water: Closes up like a clam. Goes quite austere.
Taste: Great arrival, super intense and oily, engines and old trains and cars, guttering fires, diesel fumes, very industrial actually, black pepper (of course). Mouthfeel on this baby is fantastic.
Water: Softer and more fruity but loses the luscious mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium length. Not too powerful but nicely balanced, quite soft black pepper and olive oil.
What I was looking for from the 8yo from 2018. Powerful, visceral and mechanical. If the finish was more powerful we'd be in the high 80's. As it stands, I’d be buying the 18yo over this.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #841
Whisky Network Review #1011

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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