Friday, 20 July 2018

Orkney Single Malt 2002 Sherry BBR Review

Hi everyone,

There has been a bit of a lack of activity on my part recently, partly due to moving house, work and I’ve started writing a book (which is something I’ve always wanted to do but, as you can imagine, time consuming).
Has anyone else noticed that a lot of Highland Park IB’s have started coming out? Either under ‘mystery Orkney’ or under the official name. Lots of good deals too, fair prices compared to the expensive OB single casks.
This one was bottled by Berry Bros with a labelling mistake! Which is always funny to see. The label says that it is 14yo but in fact it is 16yo.
 
Orkney Single Cask Berry Bros 56.8%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Lovely meaty Sherry, honey, malt and golden raisin, very Macallan-like if it weren't for the heathery smoke in the background. An Unami note like salami or gammon, slightly Ledaig-like salted cheese. Herbal notes too. Quite complex. Fantastic nose.
Water: Equally great but softer, more chocolatey.
Taste: Soft sweetness then intense, great Sherry cask, raisin, honey, golden raisin, heather then very earthy, some green apple, working in the garden, lots of chocolate.
Water: Dry, honey, more floral, more spice and oak here. Ginger and some pepper.
Finish: Long length. Lots more oak, dry, lots of chocolate, heather.
A little too oaky to taste but a brilliant nose. Better neat. Almost Ledaiggian in style with the funky Sherry and light smoke. Which in my book makes it great! Oh and almost forgot, the price was really good too. Sadly all sold out now I think.
80/100

Distillery: Highland Park
Average Score: 80.3
Distillery Ranking: 8th/ 65 places
Up/Down: No movement

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #650
Whisky Network Review #775

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.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Tomatin 21 TBWC Review

Hi everyone,

Thanks to Dave from TBWC for this dram, always the gent.
So back in April still (Yes, I’m behind) I was at Bristol Whisky Lounge, and just about managed to try a few whiskies despite the crowded space. I didn’t actually want to try this one, I wanted to try the 25yo mystery Islay, not this pale Tomatin but as always Dave made a good suggestion.

Tomatin 21 TBWC 47.4%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: Lovely musky slightly tropical fresh fruit, mint sprig, tomato stem amazingly (or maybe that’s the label talking!), plenty of dry oak, lemon peel. Leather and chocolate powder over time.
Taste: Dry, soft oak first then more musky and perfumed, amazing old leather and chocolate, quite dark, older than its years. Even better, there’s a great balance of flavours here too.
Finish: Long. Mouthwatering, leather and dark chocolate, some ginger snap.
Much darker and older tasting than the colour would let on. This is an absolutely wonderful example of Tomatin, if a tad expensive for most of us…
84/100

Distillery: Tomatin
Average Score: 77.5
Distillery Ranking 22nd/ 65 places
Up/Down: 25>22 (Up 3)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #649
Whisky Network Review #774

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, 8 July 2018

Ledaig 13 Amontillado Review

Hi everyone,

This is a whisky I’ve been desperately trying to get my paws on for a while for obvious reasons. Unfortunately it didn’t cross my path until it has almost disappeared. This was the last whisky I had at Limburg thanks to a very heavy night the night before…
Official Ledaig. Cask strength. Interesting cask. Good price. What’s not to like friends?
 
Ledaig 13 Amontillado 59.2%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Interesting and funky, honey, sexy cigarette smoke, smoked cheese, something meaty like glazed ham or pastrami, lightly sulphury. And a very odd but not in any way unpleasant note of pumpkin soup.
Water: More cigarette, opens up, exotic spices, saffron.
Taste: Powerful and full, mineral smoke, smashed rocks, honey glazed ham, oily mouthfeel, some oak and black pepper.
Water: Much softer and more balanced arrival, more spices, much more salt, saffron.
Finish: Long length. Powerful smoke, more smashed rocks, very mineral. Great finish.
A good one from the officials but glad I didn't buy a bottle as I was very tempted to do. The funk is here in full force and we wouldn’t want it any other way! Although the pumpkin soup on the nose is interesting and cool, it doesn’t quite jive with the other notes there though. The palate is delicious but I do wish there was a touch more complexity. In any case, still great stuff.
81/100

Distillery: Tobermory
Average Score: 80.3
Distillery Ranking: 8th/ 65 places
Up/Down: 9>8 (Up 1)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #648
Whisky Network Review #773

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, 30 June 2018

Paul John Brilliance & Single Cask #2868 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Two from Paul John today, the first, very average and the second, very special.
I have to admit, I don’t know too much about the distillery itself and I haven’t tried enough from these guys and Amrut so I’ll try and make an effort to try more.

Paul John Brilliance 46%
Colour: Light Bronze
Body: Medium
Nose: A malty one. Pastry, malt, cardamom, turmeric, toasted oak, toasted brown bread. It has the unfortunate combo of being both young and spirity but also overly woody. New oak planks, alcohol.
Taste: Soft arrival but quite spicy, spirit, oak planks, cardamom, clove, coriander, then malt, a little pastry, then more spices into the finish.
Finish: Medium length. More sweet with a caramel/toffee thing.
Batch 01 2014, bottle directly from India.
65/100
 
Paul John Unpeated Single Cask 2868 59.4%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Corn! Very American in style but with more complexity than most Bourbon's can pull off. Corn on the cob complete with melting butter, very dry oak, complex spice and dried flowers, soft lavender, woody.
Taste: Rich and intense, buttery, then more dry oak before being more creamy, nice complexity again, coriander and cumin spice, honey and chocolate powder.
Finish: Long length. Buttery with firm oak, some spice stays.
A single cask for Germany. Softer with water but not as good. I like the power and mouthfeel at full strength. Many thanks to my main man Shilton for recommending and pouring this one.
85/100

Distillery: Paul John
Average Score: 72.5
Distillery Rankings: 43rd/ 66 places
Up/Down: 53>43 (Up 10)

Thanks for reading!

Indian Reviews #5-#6
Whisky Network Review #771-#772

Network Average: 74.9
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, 29 June 2018

Bowmore SMWS 3.2 & 3.228 (1976 & 1987) Reviews

Hi everyone,

Today I have two very, very exciting whiskies. I’m a big fan of old Bowmore. Proper good Bowmore is a sight and smell and taste experience to behold. I’d had my eye on a very special one in Limburg, part of a singular collection that Angus MacRaild (of Whiskyfun) brought along. He was an incredibly generous guy for pouring this first one for me.
The second is another generous pour, this time coming from Reddit user xile_ You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. Many thanks.
 
Bowmore 1976 SMWS 3.2 58%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Musky, heathery, awesomely earthy, leather and plenty of tobacco, more Springbank-esque actually.
Taste: Soft, heather, earthy, chocolate, oily and powerful smoke, old school, graphite.
Finish: Long length. Powerful, earthy, tobacco,
Nov 76-Feb 84. Historic whisky. The second cask from the third distillery that the SMWS ever bottled! I didn’t get too long with this as you can see from comparing to the notes below but it was well worth appreciating for the short time I had it.
88/100

226 casks of Bowmore later…

Bowmore 1987 3.228 46.0%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Heady and sweet. There's definitely a floral perfumed aspect to it but not overwhelming. The Sherry comes through as fresh orange, malting floor smell, peat is still quite intense too which is a big plus, hot coals, parma violets, fig cake and sticky toffee pudding too, nutmeg and brazil nuts with cinnamon back there too. A complex one you could smell for hours and still find new things. Singed heather, orange marmalade and leather after a bit, giving off more of a Highland Park vibe. Oh and a little meatiness too.
Taste: Sweet hit to start, lovely orange marmalade, orange chewing gum, oily texture, then more smoke with some parma violet and then, yep, more and more of it (Ah, so THATS the famous FWP). Here it actually fits quite well as the freshness is balancing the Sherry. Eventually the malty smoke pulls up and into the finish but never quite beats the parma violets.
Finish: Long length. More parma violets, more smoke, more malt, more orange then some dark chocolate, fig and nice black coffee.
Great whisky despite the lower strength and the FWP. The cask has done a fantastic job here and I don't find it over the hill, too floral or too weak.
89/100

Distillery: Bowmore
Average Score: 79.3
Distillery Ranking: 14th/ 65 places
Up/Down: 17>14 (Up 3)

Thanks for reading!
Scotch Reviews #646-#647
Whisky Network reviews #769-#770

Network Average: 74.9
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, 25 June 2018

Ledaig 20 Sestante (Bot. early 90's) Review

Hi everyone,

Despite Ledaig being the favourite whisky of this particular reviewer, a Ledaig has yet to enter the 90 Club
Until today.
At Limburg, there’s a stupid amount of crazy insane whisky to try. Pretty sure a 1920 Rosebank was part of the mega collection opened without a second thought. Shared with us all.
Me, unable to spend mega-bucks on pre-war Rosebank, spied a redish Ledaig sitting across the aisle from my stand. When it was a little quieter, I wandered over for a look. Only 40%? Nah, I’ll pass.
But it nagged at me. Only 10 Euros, maybe I’ll try it anyway… So the next day I went back. Glad I did.
 
Ledaig Tobermory 20 Sestante 40%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Soft sweet old school Sherry, honey, no peat really but almost old Macallan-like, some florals, perfect cask I think, old leather, rich, dark tobacco. A little smoke starting to reveal itself, chimney soot. Old Highland Park notes now too, funky earthiness and old herb box coming through. Complex stuff.
Taste: Sweet, very old school Sherry, builds without lacking a single trace of power despite the low strength! Oily, malty, not much smoke but dark tobacco, rich, cherry, some soot now, orange, blood orange, white pepper, funky oak, honey, long and complex development. Heather too. More smoke as it opens up.
Finish: Medium/Long length. A beautiful finish that fills you with hope for all whiskykind! Emotional, a little more smoke, more oak with dark chocolate, some coffee, dry oak and cherry.
Such a surprise as I didn't think the strength would manage it! Bottled in the early 90's and possibly distilled in 1971ish. Apparently this is quite a rare one with the castle label.
90/100

Distillery: Tobermory
Average Score: 80.2
Distillery Ranking: 9th/ 66 places
Up/Down: Stayed the same

Thanks for reading!
Scotch Review #645
Whisky Network Review #768

Network Average: 74.9
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, 20 June 2018

Benromach 30 & 35 Reviews

Hi everyone,

Benromach being closed from 1983 to 1998 presents a bit of problem for Gordon & MacPhail, as they don’t really have any older whisky and what they do have is much, much older. The style would also be different as G&M put in some new smaller stills, giving a different character.
But they have released some of the stuff from the early 80’s including these little gems. The price isn’t toooo ridiculous really, considering that Bladnoch released a 29 year old for £5000 recently…


Benromach 35 43%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Deep Sherry, earthy leather, chocolate, praline, sweet stewed fruit, very balanced, polished wood, antique shop, chocolate shop.
Taste: Soft and structured, acidic red apple, oak, recedes and comes back, ash, praline, fudge, very acidic orange juice.
Finish: Medium length. Many chocolates and fudges, creamy.
I have actually tried this before, but only very briefly from a shot glass. The red apple is bit too acidic on the taste. This is great stuff but I feel like its just a tad over the hill. Let’s try and fix that by turning back time 5 years…
83/100
 
Benromach 30 (Old Bottling) 43%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Lighter and fresher than the new 35 but the same mould. Fresh acidic red apple, very good Sherry casks, dark chocolate, great balance.
Taste: Sweet, soft, honey, lacking power for one brief moment then chocolate, velvety oak, Sherry, raisin, leather, salty, wonderful dried cherry. Oak into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Tingling on the tongue, lots of acidic red apple, then praline.
Fantastic stuff, better than the new 35 although it's probably the same batch of casks. The equal of the 1980 G&M I had a while back. It was probably a lot cheaper too…
87/100

Distillery: Benromach
Average Score: 77.9
Distillery Ranking: 19th/ 65 places
Up/Down: 29>19 (Up 10)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #643-#644
Whisky Network Reviews #766-#767

Network Average: 74.9
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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