Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Bruichladdich 2006 Whiskybroker & 14 TBWC Reviews

Hi everyone,

Sherried Bruichladdich can be a wonderful thing and more and more of them have been appearing in the hands of various independent bottlers. Some of them are crazy dark, like there was a bucket load of PX Sherry sitting in the bottom when they filled the barrel.
These are two I’ve tried recently:

Bruichladdich 2006 Whiskybroker 55.7%
Colour: Coca Cola
Body: Full
Nose: A massive Sherry monster. Dark and rich with a lot of complexity to it. Dark orange, dark chocolate, tobacco, plum, date, sticky raisin, damp wood, complex cherry, cocktail cherry, cherry jam, fruit compote, there's some subtle minerality behind reminding you we're on Islay. Bran flakes, coffee, something liqueur like, maybe ameretto? Oh and vanilla fudge.
Water: Softer. Damp tobacco, dark Oloroso sherry, raisin, some Christmas cake, some marzipan, walnut. Less complex though.
Taste: Intense arrival, big whisky, lots of sharpness up front, sour, sour cherry, splintered dry wood (making me think it's an old one actually), lots of oak, really dry, puckering tannins, spices, no sweetness at all! Then more sour orange, malt, date and plum, fig, some chocolate and malt. Not too complex but the oak and sourness really dominate here. Tastes much older than 11. After some oxygen there's a little meaty note like some kind of honey glazed ham, quite delicious.
Water: Much softer arrival, none of that sour or sharpness, damp tobacco, dark chocolate, coffee beans, dark roasted malt eaten out the bag at a brewery, dark caramel, hard tannins, dry oak, quite spicy still too and virgin oak-like spices with ginger and nutmeg.
Finish: Long length. Darker, more tobacco, dark caramel, dark chocolate, americano coffee and some nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Great finish.
11yo, bottled 2017. Very oaky for the age, and some older Bourbon-like notes here too.
80/100
 
Bruichladdich 14 TBWC 50.5%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Darker than the colour lets on. Dark orange, dark chocolate, coffee, fig, some PX Sherry, plum and raisin, a little ash. More complex over time.
Taste: Sweet, PX Sherry, stewed raisin, black date and fig, dark orange, then dark chocolate, malt and black coffee, black cherry.
Finish: Long length. Very rich, very sweet, black cherry sauce, oak, spice. Drier.
Wonderful sweetness to this! If you've got a sweet tooth, this one is for you!
81/100

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Average Score: 79.3
Distillery Ranking: 12th/ 62 places
Up/Down: No movement

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #658-#659
Whisky Network Reviews #791-#792

Network Average: 75.0
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.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Compass Box Delilah XXV Review

Hi everyone,

Allow me to be lazy on this one because it’s a CB release and that means percentage proportions of what’s in it:

29% Original Delilah recipe: Of which 48% older Cameronbridge, 40% older Teaninich & 12% Glen Elgin aged for an additional five years after the first Delilah release
10.5% More Cameronbridge from 1st fill Bourbon
10.5% Miltonduff from 1st fill Bourbon
20% Teaninich from 1st fill Sherry
15% Mystery Malt from town of Aberlour (Glenfarclas perhaps?) from 1st fill Sherry
15% Linkwood from 1st fill Sherry

This was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Delilah punk rock whisky bar and I tasted it at the Stoke whisky festival earlier this year.
 
Compass Box Delilah XXV 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Malt hits first, wild strawberry, biscuit, very creamy, orange citrus, creamy vanilla, the grain comes out more with time.
Taste: Strawberry hit, very creamy, malt, biscuit, some heather and chocolate, some spice and oak, gingerbread, vanilla, a little grain whisky into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. More of the same. Orange, chocolate, heather and lots of malt.
A nice one from CB, middle of the road really. No peat, no Clynelish, just a pleasing whisky for all. I’ve said it before but I’m a big sucker for strawberry in whisky and this is no different. Good stuff.
75/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #657
Whisky Network Review #790

Network Average: 75.0
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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Glengoyne 8 Single Minded & Fettercairn 1997 High Spirits Reviews

Hi everyone,

On a stag do near Rome we knocked on the door and it was opened only a split second later by hipster-type barmen, welcoming us into their prohibition bar. We missed the real entrance, located in a cupboard inside a Chinese restaurant.
In a surreal, slightly alcohol blurred, version of vision I assessed the range of whiskies behind the bar and found myself impressed. Independent bottlings. Cask strength stuff. Bottles with weird circus stuff on the front. This was clearly a quality establishment. I glanced to the left and found a range of Mezcal too, recommending one to the groom with the bartender’s choice of cocktail.
Finding myself drinkless I ask the barmen to move everything aside so I can have a look at the bottle at the very back. I’ll have a single I say.
 
Glengoyne 8 Single Minded 43%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Heathery and malty, zingy orange citrus, candied orange peel, some dry American oak, Madagascan vanilla pod, milky coffee. Lovely nose.
Taste: Very soft arrival, a little watery to start, heather and malt, honey and orange, quite zingy, lemon, more chocolate and malt into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Milk chocolate, malty biscuits, some spice, fresh ginger and some heather.
The Highland Park of the Highlands strikes again. Really impressive young whisky.
75/100


Fettercairn 1997 High Spirits 46%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: Oaky, malt, floral, grass, liquorice, fennel, dried pineapple, nutty and herbaceous.
Taste: Soft, aged leather, oaky, floral, some grass then dried pineapple, nice soft development.
Finish: Long length. Again very soft, some grass, floral, nutty with peanut and cashews.
I haven’t had a lot of Fettercairn but I was expecting more from this as an older single cask, although I do have to say that this is still very nice. Strikes me as quite a Lowland style of whisky.
76/100
 
Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #655-#656
Whisky Network Reviews #788-#789

Network Average: 75.0
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, 11 September 2018

Hakushu Distiller's Reserve Review

Hi everyone,

A quick review today from Japan. I always find Hakushu to be quite interesting because they use heavily peated barley but comes across as very lightly peated in flavour. Do I know why this is? No, and I’m too lazy a whisky reviewer to actually do some research so it will remain a mystery to me forevermore.
 
Hakushu Distiller's Reserve 43%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Quite light with average oak, some herbal notes, pine needles, creamy vanilla, mint,
Taste: Very creamy mouthfeel, very soft, vanilla, cream soda, mint, some oak comes in, pine needles then a little more smoky with faint ash and very delicate threads of wood smoke.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Some more of that very average oak, and some delicate smoke and ash.
The delicate smoke works really well here, but other than that its pretty average.
68/100

Distillery: Hakushu
Average Score: 72.3
[Distillery Ranking: (http://www.daveswhiskyreviews.com/p/distillery-rankings.html) 41st/62 places
Up/Down: Down 10

Thanks for reading!

Japanese Review #21
Whisky Network Review #787

Network Average: 75.0
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.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Brenne & Amorik: 2x French Whiskies

Hi everyone,

French whisky? Why not in a world with Japanese, Australian, Welsh, German and every other country in the world it seems like now?
With so many distilleries popping up at the moment its hard to keep track and French whisky has fallen under my particular radar. Nevertheless, someone handed me a glass of Brenne and explained about the distillery while I was in Madrid.

Brenne French Single Malt 40%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Walking into an old style American sweet shop, bonbons, hard candy, sour sweets, any kind of green chewy sweet you can think of (apple, pear & lime), creme brûlée, slightly floral but it's a bit overwhelmed.
Taste: A tiny hint of a cognac spirit hit initially. Soft and delicate, very creamy, cream soda, sour apple chewy sweets then the bonbons and hard candies, lots of vanilla, creme brûlée.
Finish: Medium length. Even more vanilla, creamy, more oak here.
Very different style! Interesting stuff and a great surprise. Cognac still, 50% XO cognac barrels, 50% new French oak. Organic local barley too.
72/100

Amorik Maitre de Chai 47.3%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Creamily peated. Melted butter, toasted oak, yeasty with dough, toffee and fudge, shortbread biscuit.
Taste: Sweet initially, then developing peat smoke and fruit- raisin and brandy. Very good form.
Finish: Medium length. Fresh peat and lemon.
6 years old, 4 years in Bourbon and finished for 2 years in Sherry casks. I tasted this a long, long time ago and just hadn’t put my notes up on this, so they have done newer versions of this which are likely very different.
72/100

Thanks for reading!

French Reviews #1-#2
Whisky Network Reviews #785-#786

Network Average: 75.0
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 September 2018

Lagavulin 2007 & 1995 Warehouse Tastings Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’ve got two rare Lagavulin’s that have been lugged back from Islay and Campbeltown for me to taste. There will be much thanking of Mike for this feat, as he was the one there and very kindly let me taste them.
I missed out on Lagavulin on my own Islay trip as it was undergoing maintenance, and I didn’t know about the most talked about tour on the whole of Islay; the legendary warehouse tasting with Iain MacArthur. My mistake but I did pop into the shop and get the 12yo cask strength, which really impressed me.
A little wiser now, I know that Lagavulin can be just as good as Laphroaig and Ardbeg, which these really prove:

Cadenhead’s Islay Single Malt Warehouse Tasting 58.8%
Colour: Straw
Body: Full
Nose: Raw and coastal, lots of peat, some malt, clean Riesling-like minerality, lemon juice behind, slightly savoury as it opens up.
Water: Chimney soot, ash, put out fire, a dirtier minerality.
Taste: Soft, beautifully balanced arrival, malty, great minerality, heaps of peat and smoke, more juicy lemon then with a real edge to it like you literally just bit into one. Great!
Water: Still great. A little dirtier with soot.
Finish: Long length. Powerful, balanced, great transition, malty, sea salt, lemon juice.
Absolutely definitely a Laga, so says Mike. A really fun, awesome whisky that reminds you of the raw power of Islay.
85/100

Lagavulin 23yo Warehouse Tasting 54%ish
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Immediately complex, balanced and interesting. There's still freshness here with lime and lemon rind citrus, spearmint, beautiful soft ash, lovely light sweetness from the Sherry and a little funky seashore bringing complexity, sea salt, a little seaweed left on the beach for a little too long, crystallised honey, really lovely dried apricot and a little vanilla with icing sugar. Fantastic nose, if there's a flaw here I can't detect it.
Taste: Intense arrival then soft and then grows back up again. A whisky that really knows what’s its doing with development and structure. Waves of complex flavour but really kicks up after a few more seconds with a lot of Laphroaig-like seashore notes and minerality, there's some discreet oak drying, dried seaweed. Lime juice, sea salt, a little earthiness, dried apricot again, some ash and soot coming more into the finish. Doesn't quite deliver on the promises of the nose though, it’s just a tad too dry and the oily mouthfeel has been dulled a bit. Minor things though, minor things.
Finish: Medium/Long length. More of the lime juice, more oak here too with this sooty cooling mint thing going on.
Refill Sherry Cask. Many, many thanks to Mike for bringing back this one. The nose is the equal of the Laga 25 200th but the oak has gotten to the taste a little more. A shame, but still, Lagavulin is always a pleasure to taste at this age, especially straight from the cask, or as near to as possible considering you're trapped in Wales.
89/100

Distillery: Lagavulin
Average Score: 81.7
Distillery Ranking 5th/ 62 places
Up/Down: 11>5 (Up 6)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #653-#654
Whisky Network Reviews #783-#784

Network Average: 75.0
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, 4 September 2018

4x Bourbon Reviews: Willet, FEW, Blanton's Original & Gold

Hi everyone,

Haven’t reviewed much American whiskey recently but I had a great chance to try some in Spain back in May, along with a certain infamous whisky reviewer whose name will remain anonymous for the moment.
This reputable, irrefutable reviewer is quite the fan of American whisky and claims to have tasted more rye whiskey than any other human on earth, so it was interesting to see him at work and taste some of the following with or in close proximity to him.

Willet Bourbon 47%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Corn, lots of it, oak, lots of it, old crystallised honey, toffee apple, sweeter as it opens up, some nutty pistachio coming through?
Taste: Oaky hit then caramel, green apple and honey before darker notes of coffee and dark chocolate, pretty oaky all the way.
Finish: Long. Still quite oaky here, very dry, more floral oak.
I do quite like this one, despite all the oak.
74/100
 
FEW Bourbon 46.5%
Colour: Dark Bronze
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: A better balance than I remember the rye having. Dark caramel, marshmallow, deep oak, clove, quite rye forward.
Taste: Soft, quite oily mouthfeel, rye, clove, liquorice root, lots of oaky spice coming in with some marshmallow, tannins.
Finish: Long. Spicy but a bit flat here, flat tannins.
Not bad but any stretch for craft American, the nose in particular is pleasant.
69/100
 
Blanton's Original 46.5%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Fragrant and full bodied, orange peel, lots of oak, dark caramel, quite nutty with Brazil nuts, floral oak, cherry lip gloss. Very good nose.
Taste: Soft arrival, builds well with fresh orange citrus and good oak, eucalyptus, oily mouthfeel, plenty of spice, red and black liquorice, mixed peppercorns.
Finish: Long. Very oaky here, but good and dark, very strong black Americano.
Single barrel. Good nose but a bit too much oak to taste, still, one of those Bourbons I like. My companion loved this one in particular and I wonder if a certain award might be swinging the way of Buffalo Trace this year…?
75/100
 
Blanton's Gold 51.5%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Medium
Nose: Pretty bloody good, lovely balance of fresh citrus-y orange, fragrant floral oak and clove and liquorice spice. Dark chocolate with walnuts, a little sugary almond paste, and a single apple pastry.
Taste: Soft arrival, quite delicate in the mouth (in a really lovely way) before developing more power, dark chocolate, coffee bean, tobacco leaf, dry great quality oak coming in then very lovely dark chocolate powder into the finish. Did I mention mouthfeel is spot on too?
Finish: Long length. Very great here too. Dark chocolate powder, soft oak whispering away,
One of my favourite ever Bourbon's. What I love here is the balance and effortlessness, which, in my book, puts it above the Pappies 20 & 23. Barrel 187 was clearly a very, very good one.
82/100

Thanks for reading!

American Review #56-#59
Whisky Network Review #779-#782

Network Average: 75.0
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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