Saturday, 17 November 2018

Mortlach x5 Reviews! 16 new & old, 18, 1993 Adelphi & 1988 Cadenhead's

Hi everyone,

For reasons explained here, Mortlach is awesome. A brand not without its up and downs though, having been a great (perhaps the best) Flora & Fauna, discontinued into a 50cl ultra premium (read expensive) range and now the backtrack!
Diageo actually listened. LISTENED! To us! The multitude. About a whisky. Amazing.
Anyway, since their ultra premium stuff didn’t sell very well, they’ve brought back the 16 with a vengeance. I got a chance to try it yesterday and realised I’ve got a whole flight of Mortlach’s I’ve tried recently, including the F&F. So we’ve got quite the selection today.

Mortlach 16 Flora & Fauna 43%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Oooooooh, Sherry, dense and rich. Slightly earthy malt, resinous oils, dry oak, raisin and fig, orange, I can't find any meatiness here, coffee beans, dark tobacco and leather. Great complex nose with some old Balvenie characteristics.
Taste: Thick, oily and resinous, a little flat here to start (very minor), great dark oak, tingling spice, dark chocolate, raisins, sweetness, syrupy Sherry, leathery and dried fig and prune and date, some orange here too.
Finish: Long length. Thick, oily and dark. More dark chocolate, resin and wood polish, antique furniture. Amazing finish.
What a loss to the whisky world! At first I thought it was all about the Sherry and little else but opens up well giving more complex notes off. Wouldn't be surprised if there's some 20+yo Mortlach in here too. Perhaps even quite a bit of it...
82/100
 
Mortlach 18 43.4%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Deep and heavy, Sherry influence but still fresh, red apple, meaty malt, cranberry, coriander spice, cherry, quite complex, powerful nose despite the abv. The floral geranium comes out after a bit with soft milk chocolate.
Taste: Sweet hit then nosedives in power, slowly comes back with dry oak, geranium, orange, some Sherry, malt and oils coming in later, ginger and black pepper spice.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Again lacking power here, soft florals, chocolate and some malt.
Why?! Why wasn't this bottled at 48% and in a normal bottle and reasonable price? Actually keep your crazy price, at least a higher strength… Lovely Mortlachian nose but the rest is disappointing. Opens up well though, give it time.
76/100
 
Mortlach 16 Distiller's Dram 43.4%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Fresh Sherry and meaty dense spirit. Red apple and dark chocolate, a subtle touch of sulphur- struck match, raisin, some cherry. Develops more meat! Haggis! Black pudding! Dried earth.
Taste: Soft, clean arrival, lacking power for a short moment before oily red apple comes in, raisin, meaty Sherry, malt, dark chocolate and heather into the finish.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Oily chocolate, some nice oak comes in with leather. Nicely balanced here.
Ballsy move from Diageo to bring this back out. Even better that the quality is high. Impressive.
80/100

Let’s go onto some new indies because they’re always great too!
 
Mortlach 1993 Adelphi 56%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Fresh blood and fresh paint! Woah. Under that there's fruit with red apple and orange. Old style Mortlach with leather, musky, expensive praline chocolates, really wonderful nose.
Taste: Sweet! Much sweeter than I was expecting. Orange, malt, cherry, chocolate, awesome meaty prune and fig, sweet oak, Sherry, expensive dark chocolate. A little too woody as it develops.
Finish: Long length. Oak and chocolate, dusty chocolate and, weirdly, wood experiment wood from unseasoned oak.
Sherry cask. Amazing nose but the late development and finish don't live up to it. Still Mortlach and Sherry don't often go wrong, although the price on this one is pretty damn high.
81/100
 
Mortlach 1988 Cadenhead's 55.1%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Ethereal and punchy at first nosing. Then more meaty as it gets going. Plum and apricot fresh fruit, black pepper, fried black pudding, maple cured bacon, icing sugar, the sweet and savoury notes are really well balanced and melding together. Those Canadian maple biscuits that smell woody and sweet and delicious. Resin and leather developing, develops really well actually. WOAHOHO, what the hell has happened now?! Coming back after a minute there's a white vinegar note like an over-aged white wine, also soy sauce and petrol-y fumes. AMAZING and complex and delicious. Incredible nose.
Taste: Really soft arrival, very very balanced, fresh and citrus arrival then big punchy fresh fruit, dried apricot and peach, golden raisin, thick oily malt, maple syrup, some bacon, but more savoury into the finish.
Finish: Long length. Drying, more savoury then spicy and woody, bacon and black pepper, a lasting ginger tingle.
Sherry cask, 29yo. A technically flawless whisky. Awesome and fun. And an actually reasonable price! Was lucky enough to get one of these for my birthday this year.
87/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #687-#691
Whisky Network Reviews #821-#825

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, 9 November 2018

Jura 19 The Paps & 1988 Rare Vintage Reviews

Hi everyone,

Back and in the airport again (cancelled flights rebooked) and back with two more Jura today. Both of these are pretty new but if you know me then you know I’m not a particularly big fan of this distillery. I tend to enjoy whiskies that are clean and crisp, complex whiskies, balanced and powerful whiskies.
Jura I find a bit flabby. Usually with these sour and doughy notes that don’t jive for me.
But these two are older. These two are at a sensible strength. And they are both using a sweet finishing cask…

Jura The Paps 19yo 45.6%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Cinnamon, gingerbread, ginger cake, rich, heavy, cakey, vanilla, orange, very nice nose. Heathery.
Taste: Heavy, rich, Sherry, sweet, cherry, vanilla, building spice and oak, ginger, nice mouthfeel, cinnamon. Not quite in balance.
Finish: Medium length. Cloying, sweet orange, more ginger and heather.
Travel retail exclusive. Finished in 40yo px casks (although the BOX says 30yo px) and interesting for it. The sweet notes aren’t crazy sweet but are quite cloying towards the end. The spices here help it balance out and bring something interesting.
75/100

Jura 1988 2018 Release 53.5%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Pastry and oak. Light sweetness from the Port, complex spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger, not particularly balanced but classic Jura.
Taste: Full on, complex spices, ginger and nutmeg, spiced hot chocolate, cinnamon and clove, quite oaky, heather, better towards the finish.
Finish: Long length. The Port comes through more with some blackberry.
1 year finishing in Grahams Port barrels. Not my thing but fans of Jura with love this. Impressive packaging too although the price is probably crazy. I prefer this to the Paps but not by a lot and the Paps will be a lot cheaper.
77/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #685-#686
Whisky Network Reviews #819-#820

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.

1977 & 2x 1973 (Trapped in the Airport Reviews)

Hi everyone,

Since I am stuck in the airport at the moment, with absolutely nothing to do but write and read, I might as well do another post with some older whiskies I was lucky enough to get to try recently.
The first, a blended malt from the Thompson Brothers of Dornoch Distillery at an easy 40 years old and the other is even older, brought to us by The Whisky Agency via The Whisky Exchange. These old Speyside single/blended malts have a serious reputation among those that know old whisky. Especially seeing as there aren’t that many distilleries with those very old stocks.

1977 Blended Malt Sherry Thompson Bros 42.9%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Takes me back to the decades tour at Glenfarclas. The Sherry here is pretty classy, raisin, fresh cherry, leather, there's a little medicinal/soap note that I normally get from older Glenfarclas, and a subtle meaty-ness, orange, pomegranate, flowers at your newly made bed in the hospital, quite crisp and fresh for 40! Oh, how did I forget to mention good quality coffee, almond and marzipan, Amaretto, marzipan log and sugared almonds. And honey. And old liqueurs. And old cupboards with spice boxes in them.
Taste: Sweet at first, a little thin but builds, the whole is a bit shy to start, and then its building with spice, oak and swells of sweetness. Giving this one time in the mouth is crucial. Fantastic strawberry fruit pastille (the red ones), leather, some orange peel and subtle floral tones. I wouldn't say it’s over oaked but it’s just lost a little too much of the strength. Chewy texture but not as complex as the nose.
Finish: Long/Very Long length. Sweetness stays with a little strawberry then darker and darker (but losing power) with the oak, chocolate, orange and leather staying and staying.
Bottled early 2018 at 40yo. Pretty stunning stuff, particularly the nose, it’s just lost a little too much of the strength after all those years. Price was about £200, which I thought was pretty reasonable until Vega brought out their 40yo at £135. Anyway, great to try.
87/100
 
Speyside 1973 The Whisky Agency 47.4%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Fresh and old at the same time. Lots of oak, subtle Sherry, orange, raisin, cherry, prune, date, brown sugar, leather, wild strawberry, red and green apple. Super complex nose that balances everything wonderfully.
Taste: Full on oak to start then goes very very soft, wild strawberry, awesome brain tingling fruit, emotional, lovely balance and mouthfeel, raisin. Delicate mixed spice, leather and dark chocolate development. Again, complex and wonderful.
Finish: Long/Very Long. Strawberry fruit pastilles, no oak here which is a minor miracle, still fresh.
For The Whisky Exchange, bottled 2017 at 43yo from a Butt. Little aside, Billy of TWE says there was a labelling mistake as this was actually a Blended Malt not a Single Malt. I see nothing on the label saying either? Just Speyside.The similarities to the 1977 are obvious though, especially with the strawberry notes. This one clinches it, with a touch more power and the balance of a ballerina.
89/100

Aw hell, tell you what. Since I’m here, let’s go just a tad older again shall we? And this ain’t no blended malt neither…
 
Tomintoul 1973 Vintage 44.5%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Expressive, rich and sweet. Leather and chocolate and strawberry, red apple, complex and quite delicious, beautiful nose actually but I have a funny feeling the palate will be a let down... Loads of stewed dark fruits and little deserts (the kind you get on a little tray together with a coffee), chocolate cake. More complex over time with liquorice allsorts, ethereal slightly funky heather.
Taste: Weak arrival, there it is, disappointing start, lots of dry oak then loads of leather and musty dark chocolate, some honey, some florals in there with geranium and lemongrass, lavender, heather. Complex but not completely balanced. Oh cherry too with a tobacco thing going on.
Finish: Long length. Darker again with dark chocolate and late plum, not too much oak here, leather again.
A brand new one. Bottled 2018 at 45yo, Sherry finish. This is an example of a Sherry finish (although they don’t tell us for how long) that has worked pretty well for an old whisky. It saved the nose but not the palate. Older doesn’t always mean better, as we all know, but its worth remembering when you’re trying a whisky that is costing thousands of pounds and comes in a fancy wooden box and heavy decanter.
83/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #682-#684
Whisky Network Reviews #816-#818

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.

Talisker 8 Special Releases 2018 Review

Hi everyone,

I’ve been lucky enough to try two of Diageo’s Special Releases 2018 so far. The two most exciting: Talisker 8 and Glen Ord 14.
I was super excited for this one in particular because I haven’t tried a whole lot of cask strength Talisker but its one of my old favourites, being a big fan of the 10, 18 & DE, oh and the 30 of course. Basically everything they’ve done with an age statement. Hell, even Skye I liked.
So what is this young, Bourbon matured Talisker all about?
 
Talisker 8 2018 Special Releases 59.4%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Fruity and raw. Tequila, herbal, cigar smoke, cigarettes.
Water: NMS comes out with fruity gummy bears.
Taste: Full, powerful arrival, spicy with black pepper and red apple, wood smoke, lemon.
Water: Softer, less fruit and more average spice.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Spices fade easily, leaving you a bit disappointed.
Personally, I prefer the 10 and the 18 and the Distiller's Edition. People have been rating this very highly but for me there isn’t enough complexity or balance here despite the higher strength and cask selection. Bit of a disappointment considering the price compared to the 10 or 18.
70/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #681
Whisky Network Review #815

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, 1 November 2018

Daftmill 2006 Summer Release Review

Hi everyone,

Daftmill is a small distillery. Daftmill is a farm. Daftmill started making whisky way back in 2005. Daftmill use all their own barely, from their own farm and the draff is fed to their own cattle.
The distillation regime is spilt between the busy seasons of the farm, 3 months each, one at the end of the spring and one in the winter.
I happened to happen upon Francis Cuthbert (the guy with the name on the label, as he quite rightly pointed out to me) and it was nice chatting for a few minutes. Very passionate guy and, clearly, a very patient one. Something very valuable when it comes to whisky…
Now, I’d heard some very good things about these and I’d been dying to try some of the whisky for ages… So I’d been looking forward to this.
 
Daftmill 2006 Summer Release 46%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Funky and different. Pleasant plastic, some fresh fruit, weird but more Christmas spice as it opens up, cinnamon.
Taste: Slightly weird, plastic then some spice, cinnamon, burnt gummy bears?
Finish: Long length. Quite astringent, cinnamon, a little harsh, more plastic.
An odd one. Is it bad whisky? No, I don’t think so. It just isn’t for me. Some people clearly like it a lot but I think I built this up too much in my mind, finding myself disappointed.
64/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #680
Whisky Network Review #814

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.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Compass Box The Spaniard & Flaming Heart 6th Ed. Reviews

Hi everyone,

I’ve got two newish CB’s today. Always a fan of the more expensive versions and generally their outlook and experimentation.
I was lucky enough to try the new version of Flaming Heart at the Whisky Exchange Show recently and just tried The Spaniard yesterday, so thought I’d put up my notes together.
The 5th edition of Flaming Heart is one of my favourite Compass Box’s and I just love the packaging. Might be one of my favourite packagings on any Scotch actually. Not too overblown, lovely shaded bottle. So I was very curious to see how this new version stacks up.

Compass Box The Spaniard 43%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Really fruity, sweet gummy bears, wax, malt, spice, creamy biscuit, some milk chocolate and heather, quite a complex one actually. A more gristy malt develops.
Taste: Very soft, lacking a touch of power just as it begins, creamy, better mouthfeel as it goes on, malt, more spicy then with nice ginger and black pepper, tingling.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Creamy again with some spice.
48% Spanish wine casks. Quite an average one. Quite a good nose with the fruitiness working well but on the palate you get nice spices but not a huge amount more. This one isn’t too expensive though to be fair.
73/100
 
Compass Box Flaming Heart 6th Ed. 48.9%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: More fruity than I remember the last one being with lots of fresh apple notes, red and green apple, juicy pear, waxy and delicate, light creamy smoke behind, lemon candy.
Taste: Super soft and balanced arrival, creamy then more malty with chocolate then bigger mineral and salty peat, waxy and Brora-like.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Waxy and seashells, Brora. Some spice and oak too.
Glaser's mission to recreate Brora it seems. Fantastic of course, but not the equal of the 5th edition I think. I love the coastal notes here but the last I remember being more complex and kept developing.
83/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #678-#679
Whisky Network Reviews #812-#813

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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