Sunday, 9 December 2018

Starward New World Projects Review

Hi everyone,

Australian whisky has become bigger and bigger in the last few years but not much of it makes its way to the UK for me to try it.
Therefore, I haven’t had a chance to try any of the big guns like Lark or Sullivan’s Cove but today I’ve got one that I’ve seen quite a bit more of in the UK: Starward.
We usually see the normal one about, but at a festival I was able to try this limited version from red wine casks. Its only 2.25 years old, so isn’t even whisky yet technically.
 
Starward New World Projects 41%
Colour: Dark Gold/Redish
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Red wine dominant but well balanced, some red gummy bears, creamy vanilla, cherry lips, white sugar. Works well.
Taste: Sour arrival with nice cherry, then soft, creamy, red gummy bears, strawberry laces, nice sour Haribo.
Finish: Medium length. More cherry lips, some good oak.
I really wouldn’t have guessed it was that young tasting it blind. The red wine is pretty obvious but actually works really well.
70/100

Thanks for reading!

Australian Review #5
Whisky Network Review #837

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Benrinnes 23 1985 (Scotch Review #700)

Hi everyone,

Scotch Review 700 is here and it’s a good’un.
Benrinnes has always been a firm favourite of many for its meaty, slightly sulphury notes from the partial triple distillation they did pre-2007.
Of these, the 1985 vintage, 2009 special releases of the 23 year old is known, particularly on Reddit, as one of the best Scotch bottlings ever, with multiple scores of 100/100 and some other damn high ones besides.
Luckily I managed to pick up a bottle in Scotland a while back for a not ridiculous sum of monies, but I’ve always been curious to how it tastes without having to open my precious bottle… Had a chance to try it at Bottle Market in Bremen recently.
Let’s have a warm up first shall we?

Benrinnes 2001 The Single Cask 50%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: Delicate and light, with some underhand heating it gives more gristy meatiness, grain whisky-esque otherwise, malt and lemon.
Taste: Crisp and clean, great green apple note, very fresh, then more muscular with oak, red apple, oily mouthfeel, malt and lemon.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Lovely finish. Great oily malt, soft chocolate and heather and lemon. Great balance here.
Shame the nose is a bit light for my taste, still, the finish is spot on.
76/100
 
Benrinnes 23 1985 58.8%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Complex. Powerful nose with lots going on. Old school heavy spirit and old school heavy Sherry. Red apple and black pepper, dried blood, truffle chocolates, earthy malt and leather. More leathery as it opens up with old polished furniture.
Water: A little lighter with more ethereal sweetness, more oak but still not too much, Old Balvenie-esque orange and old wood panelled library, musky, pretty much keeps developing endlessly.
Taste: Powerful and thick. HUGE mouthfeel! Massive whisky. Oily for days, red apple, black pepper, rich Sherry, cherry, somehow it’s all in balance too! Slightly mineral pockets of flavour too.
Water: More balanced arrival, builds slowly now, more sweetness, more Sherry, raisin, more dry oak too. There's a little sharpness in the mid-palate now but it’s so so minor.
Finish: Long length. The oils! More chocolate, more meatiness here, chewy. Gravy? Perhaps... Malty gravy. Pretty damn great.
2009 Special Releases. What can I say? Legendary.
A damn sight better than the 21yo release from a while back. Its sweeter, more muscular, better balanced and with more power. Very glad I’ve got a bottle tucked away.
91/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #699-#700
Whisky Network Reviews #835-#836

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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, 7 December 2018

Glen Moray Cider Cask & 1998 Cadenhead's Reviews

Hi everyone,

Glen Moray is one of those distilleries that keeps on experimenting, thanks to a handy ownership by Louis Vuitton Mo√ęt Hennessey who own a load of winerys.
Unrelated to that, I tried an amazing cider from Thistly Cross matured in Glen Moray whisky barrels. Maybe one of my favourite ciders ever actually. It was really good.
Anyway, it seems some of those barrels have come back the other way and finished off this UK exclusive.
Are cider casks legal as per the SWA?
No idea. Some have been told off for using Calvados casks before, SMWS used a gin cask and got a smack and, of course, Diageo were barred from using Tequila barrels…
And because I’m me, I’ve got an indie too!
 
Glen Moray Cider Cask 46.3%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Fresh and fruity, tonnes of green apple and pear esters, intense sour green apple chewy sweets, more and more of the cider as it develops.
Taste: Soft arrival, sour green apple, some red apple, some vanilla hard candies, Werther's Originals, caramel, quite creamy then becoming drier into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. More toffee and caramel here with an oaky kick very late.
UK exclusive, 2000 bottles. An interesting one to try. Not exactly sure that the cider has done a lot though.
73/100

Glen Moray 1998 Cadenhead's 55.5%
Colour: Straw
Body: Light
Nose: Light nose. Some malt, a little pineapple, very fresh and very very clean, some pastry and vanilla, a little grass maybe, hessian. Ethanol.
Taste: Soft and light, some grass up front then more fruity with pineapple and lemon, green apple, then malt, a little earthy perhaps, ginger and black pepper spice.
Finish: Medium length. Some chocolate and oak, quite dry here with a little green apple.
I guessed this was a 10yo Balblair! Not exactly what you'd expect from a 19yo but consistent with what Cadenhead's do from Moray.
71/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #697-#698
Whisky Network Reviews #833-#834

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Secret Distillery #1 28yo TBWC Review

Hi everyone,

sssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Always good to see whisky that definitely isn’t Glenfarclas being released by the indies that wouldn’t be allowed to call it Glenfarlcas even if this was Glenfarclas, which, to be clear, it definitely is not…
 
Secret Distillery #1 28 TBWC 50%
Colour: Dark Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Complex orange, Seville, peel and perfumed. Complex spices and great oak, antique leather and old furniture and furniture polish. Develops delicious strawberry and liquorice and black pepper combo. Over time there's more dried cherry and dark chocolate.
Taste: Sweet and rich, orange and chocolate and lots of dry oak, Old Balvenie territory, leather and antique furniture and polish for said furniture. Perfect really. Cherry dark chocolate. Quite dry. Gorgeous development.
Finish: Long length. Emotional, sweeter here, epic, maple syrup, so bloody good.
Clap clap clap clap
One of those definite buys for me, but sadly the budget did not allow. About £150 for the 50cl bottle. Its all gone now anyway. Not often I find something this good from new releases that aren’t extortionately priced. Now, if the distillery name was the on the bottle maybe it would have been more expensive.
90/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #696
Whisky Network Review #832

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Jameson 18 Limited Reserve & Cooley 1992 Cadenhead's Reviews

Hi everyone,

I don’t try a huge number of Irish whiskies. I just don’t tend to seek them out and there’s not a huge number available in UK and the festivals I attend in Europe.
Or perhaps, there aren’t a huge number of the independent, older, cask strength, single cask releases I tend to be looking out for…
Anyway, I was doing a tasting at the Whisky Museum in Salzburg recently (great place), which also happens to be an Irish pub.
The Jameson had been on my list for a while, because its part of the 101 whiskies to try before you die, but I’d never actually seen it in person. The Cadenhead’s speaks for itself (Many thanks to Chris for pouring me that one).


Jameson 18 Limited Reserve 40%
Colour: E150a
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Light and fruity, gummy bears, tropical, expressive and floral. Nice nose but feels like it lacking something to balance it out.
Taste: Light and creamy, lacks a little power then dry oak, better balance into the finish with chocolate coming in. More bitter and dry as it opens up actually. Ground coffee beans.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Creamy chocolate, oily, dry leaves. Again, not particularly balanced.
Nice in places as does have complexity but harsh and bitter too. Funny to find this one quite dry after the tropical fruity nose. Anyway, glad I tried this.
72/100
 
Cooley Single Malt 1992 Cadenhead's 52.3%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Yeah great. Complex, fruity and sweet, creamy, custard creams, green apple, something subtly savoury.
Taste: Awesome arrival, very very balanced, hugely fruity and complex oak, creamy and oily.
Finish: Medium length. Really soft here, lovely, tropical fruit. Pineapple and mango.
26yo. What a gorgeous Irish whiskey! Everything I expected from the 1989 TWA release but didn’t quite get.
85/100

Thanks for reading!

Irish Reviews #24-#25
Whisky Network Reviews #830-#831

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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, 27 November 2018

Compass Box Juveniles Review

Hi everyone,

I’m a pretty lucky guy in many, many ways.
One of those being that I normally get to taste the Compass Box releases quite early if I am so inclined. I dimly remembered some talk about this one and saw it pop up recently at a festival I was at.
The bottle is cool. Nice white wax on the top and a bell underneath, because we love a little bit of a joker under the surface. But what about the whisky?
Well, with a little bit of research I found the recipe and, amazingly, its only 30% Clynelish!

34% Strathmill (Hogshead)
34% Balmenach (Hogshead)
30% Clynelish (20% Recharred barrel, 10% refill Sherry)
2% Glendullan (1st fill Sherry)

Compass Box Juveniles 46%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Light and creamy, vanilla and white chocolate, some malt backing it up, lemon peel and icing sugar. Silky soft nose.
Taste: Malt first, more powerful than the nose let on, then creamy white chocolate, ethereal oils and leather then into the finish. The oak seems a little out of place though.
Finish: Medium length. Oily. Red apple, silky and soft but a tad dry.
2018 release. Young but good. Mainly about the mouthfeel and balance as the actual flavour is pretty average.
74/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #695
Whisky Network Review #829

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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, 23 November 2018

Benriach Birnie Moss & 1990 Carn Mor Reviews

Hi everyone,

Two Benriach’s for today. The distillery has gone from being closed in 2002, to being a Billy Walker star to now being bought by Brown-Forman. The prices are consistently going up, especially of the single casks but it seems people are still buying for the moment, so, long may it continue.
I actually can’t remember where or when I tasted this first one, perhaps in a bar in Bristol on my birthday last year now that I think about it (BrewDog is the best).
The second I tasted recently, as an older version from a Hogshead which funnily enough isn’t something we see from the officials. It seems they only have wine casks…

Benriach Birnie Moss 48%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: Buttery and oily from the off, intense peat of course, burnt grass clippings, young Ardmore-esque actually. Lemon, smoked pear and banana, green apple, a little smoked fish too.
Taste: Very soft arrival, smoky pear, green apple, a little sour, some salt, then lots of peat and minerally stoniness.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Goes suddenly buttery, a little smoke stays.
Does what it says on the tin but young and lacking in the complexity department. Doesn't taste more peaty than the Curiositas, just younger.
69/100

Benriach 1990 Carn Mor 48.9%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Leathery and old but still some fruit too, candied lemon peel, malt and chocolate, wet leaves and tobacco, candied orange peel, vanilla coming out with Victoria sponge cake, musky dunnage.
Taste: Intense with these old leathery notes, damp tobacco, old dunnage wood then fresher with apple and malt, lemon peel, hessian, dry oak.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Much fresher here with lovely orange and old furniture. Really good finish just a tad short.
Bottled 2018 at 27yo, almost 28. A really good one. Carn Mor have been releasing a lot of older whiskies with lower strengths and I think the little higher strength on this one saves it from another high 70's score.
83/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #693-#694
Whisky Network Reviews #827-#828

Network Average: 75.1
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 a 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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