Friday, 18 May 2018

Old Pulteney 12 Cadenhead's Small Batch Review

Hi everyone,

Have you ever wondered what an indie Old Pulteney would taste like?
I have. But never had an opportunity to because there ain’t much of the stuff. Only Gordon & Macpahil and Cadenhead’s seem to have any, and even then its only a little. So I was lucky enough to try this during a recent trip to the Netherlands.
 
Old Pulteney 12 Cadenheads Small Batch 55.8%
Colour: Straw
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Very buttery for OP. Ethanol, dough, lemon, some subtle sea salt and banana, whipped cream, some malt too.
Taste: Soft and very buttery, creamy mouthfeel then drier with oak, banana, dried banana and whipped cream. Banana split-like actually!
Finish: Medium/Long length. Creamy and buttery, a little grape, lemon peel.
Proper natural spirit-driven OP.
75/100

Distillery: Old Pulteney
Average Score: 73.6
Distillery Ranking: 36th/ 61 places
Up/Down: No Movement

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #628
Whisky Network Review #746

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, 16 May 2018

Wemyss The Nectar Grove Review

Hi everyone,

I had the pleasure of meeting Steven of Wemyss Malts recently at a warehouse tasting for our Netherlands distributor, and immediately got a better sense of how Wemyss works and what they do. Essentially, Charlie Maclean finds casks of whisky that then go to a tasting panel that select the single casks and choose the names for them.
But the company isn’t afraid to innovate and experiment, so Steven was given a pretty free hand in creating this edition finished in Madeira casks. He clearly knows what he’s doing, being an ex-SMWS tasting panel member, and packaging-wise this one looks the part too being one of the most eye-catching bottles/boxes. But who cares about packaging (ooooo shiny), how’s it taste?
 
Wemyss The Nectar Grove 46%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Really fresh, fruity, white grape, a little elastic rubber that comes and goes, but lovely melon, some lemon peel, malt behind, spearmint.
Taste: Soft and silky, vanilla, fresh fruit, melon, lemon and juniper, a little spice grows, green grape.
Finish: Long length. Tingling white pepper, green grape, very fresh.
2x Highland malt whiskies, finished and married in Madeira casks for 8 months then further marriage in refill casks. A real summer whisky. Very pleasant and sippable. This is such a drinkable, outdoor-in-the-sun style of whisky.
75/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #627
Whisky Network Review #745

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, 14 May 2018

Tobermory 15 Marsala Finish Review & Feints

Hi everyone,

Let’s talk about ‘Feints’ for just a second. Only one, because that’s all I can spare.

Think for a moment about the ‘cut’ of the spirit. In the second distillation of a Scotch whisky, there is normally a cut taken. Head, heart & tail which is really foreshots, heart and feints, I call beginning, middle and end. It is the split between what you take and what you don’t. What is your whisky and what is recycled endlessly into oblivion.
How large the cut depends on the distillery and the equipment. Macallan revel in the fact that they take a very small cut of spirit. Laphroaig has a really long foreshots cut, like 40 minutes or something crazy. While some have as little as 5 minutes. And others, like Octomore at Bruichladdich, take as much of the heart into the feints as possible to get certain flavours.
The reason they do this is that the foreshots contains a lot of methanol and ethanol. So they can’t use it but it needs to be recycled to save the alcohol. Equally, towards the end of the distillation, the spirit drops in abv and more heavy oils (called fusel oils) start to come into the spirit. This is the feints.
The feints can contain certain things you want in the whisky, like phenols that give you that wonderful smoky flavour to many of the Islay whiskies. Equally, too much feints will give you a ‘feinty’ flavour to the whisky. If you’ve ever worked in a distillery, as I’ve been lucky enough to, you’ll know when you get home you absolutely reek of feints. They are very aromatic, and not in a particularly pleasant way, although the actual aroma is difficult to describe. They are often said to smell of weird things that shouldn’t belong in whisky: mushroom, fishy and cheesy.

Why am I telling you all this? Because Tobermory is the king of the feints!
 
Tobermory 15 Marsala finish 56.2%
Colour: Light amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Funky and a bit odd, leather, an old pantry with cheeses and cured meats, funky, green apple, lemon citrus. Interesting nose, but won’t be everyone’s thing.
Taste: Soft and then quickly spicy, gingerbread, black pepper, white pepper, liquorice, cumin, pretty complex spices coming through.
Finish: Long. Oaky, malt chocolate, very dry with a little orange and much more cumin.
A really good one for the lesser Ledaig-ling. Showing off the interesting and well done version of Feinty.
80/100

Distillery: Tobermory
Average Score: 80.0
Distillery Ranking: 9th/ 60 places
Up/Down: N/a

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #626
Whisky Network Review #744

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.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Bowmore 2002 & Ardbeg 1996 Cheiftain's Reviews

Hi everyone,

Two Islay’s from Cheiftain’s today.
It’s funny that I would always expect Ardbeg to be more smoky in taste/smell than Bowmore, even if the Bowmore was younger, as it has about half the ppm content. But it turned out the other way round with these two. I would also expect most modern Ardbeg’s to beat most modern Bowmore’s but again, I was proven wrong.

Bowmore 2002 Chieftain’s 46%
Colour: Light gold
Nose: Lightly smoky, ashy, lightly tropical with pineapple, a little floral, lemon soap. I quite like the lemon soap here, although I could see others hating it.
Taste: Soft, lacking a little power first then the smoke comes in with pineapple backing, soot, a little floral. More peaty than I expected actually.
Finish: Med. A little rubber, some pineapple, soot and oak.
Bot 2016 @14yo. The rubber on the finish was holding this back, as well as lacking a bit in the delivery. At cask strength it might have been better.
75/100
 
Ardbeg 1996 Chieftain’s 46.5%
Colour: Straw
Body: Medium
Nose: A sooty and slightly off form Ardbeg. Green apple and lemon, very little smoke here, ash, a bit closed too.
Taste: Soft, acidic, citrus with lemon, some green apple and a little smoke, ash. Again, barely any peat notes. Lacking structure and, come to think of it, everything that makes Ardbeg awesome.
Finish: Medium length. Way too acidic here, oak and ash.
Bottled 2016 @ 20yo. Not a great one. Too acidic. Too little complexity. Too little Ardbeg.
71/100

Distilleries: Bowmore/Ardbeg
Average Scores: 83.3 & 78.4
Distillery Rankings: 4th & 16th/ 61 places
Up/Down: 3/15> 4/16 (Both down 1)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #624-#625
Whisky Network Reviews #742-#743

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, 11 May 2018

Glenburgie 1997 Cooper's Choice (Sherry Cask) Review

Hi everyone,

Been mega busy with work at the moment, so although I’ve got a tonne of reviews in the pipeline, the pipeline might stay fairly full of reviews.
Glenburgie has growing in various people’s estimations recently, including mine, particularly from Sherry casks. So when I saw this one in a bar in the Netherlands, I knew to go for it.
 
Glenburgie 1997 Cooper’s Choice 46%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Loads of cherry, sweet Sherry, malt under that, golden and black raisins, Macallan-esque. Cherry lip chewy sweets.
Taste: Sweet and soft, golden raisin and malt like a Macallan then rich cherry, some red apple, some ginger and oak coming in, good modern oak.
Finish: Medium length. More red apple and cherry, some dry oak, soft.
19yo, bot 2017. Sherry cask. With a little more mouthfeel this would be fantastic. Nice cask. More funk needed too!
80/100

Distillery: Glenburgie
Average Score: 78.3
Distillery Ranking: 16th/ 60 places
Up/Down: 21>16 (Up 5)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #623
Whisky Network Review #741

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, 4 May 2018

Kilchoman Port Cask 2018 & 2012 PX Single Cask Reviews

Dear everyone interested in Kilchoman in Port casks. Here is my review of the new one.
I never tasted the old version, so I don’t have a reference point I’m afraid but I managed to get a sample at a recent show and then tasted it at home.


Kilchoman Port 2018 50%
Colour: Pinkish Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Similar style to the Madeira actually. This meaty blackberry note hits first, plum, some smoked blueberry (if that's a thing), vanilla ice cream, toasted marshmallow, not a huge amount of smoke here either. Autumnal wet leaves and Turkish Delight. There's some chalk and rubber a bit out of place.
Taste: Soft and sweet, lots of vanilla, blackberry, blueberry then big mineral smoky Kilchoman beast, again really reminds me of the Madeira with this ashy meaty fruit, plum, cola bottles, mulled wine with cinnamon, some slightly acrid burnt rubber into the finish.
Finish: Long length. Juicy first with juicy blackcurrant, some spice and smoke staying with late chocolate.
2014-2018. As with the Madeira or the Longrow Red's, I'm in two minds about this one. On the one hand it’s a great fruity smoky beast, on the other it’s never quite in balance.
80/100

How about another Kilchoman from some random part of the world? (This is DWR after all!)
 
Kilchoman 2012 Single Cask PX Finish for The Malt Vault 57%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Sweety shop nose, ashy smoke, orange and a herbal Mezcal note (been tasting some Mezcal recently so it’s cool to find in a whisky), cherry sweets.
Taste: Soft, sweet and spicy. Mineral, heavy smoke, black pepper, honey and raisin, malt, a Mezcal note here too which is cool.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Very soft, mineral smoke, cherry.
2012-2018, a PX finished single cask for the Malt Vault in Utretch, Netherlands. One of the older PX finished Kilchomans I’ve seen. The sweetness is dampening the complexity in my opinion though.
79/100

Distillery: Kilchoman
Average Score: 78.6
Distillery Ranking: 15th/ 60 places
Up/Down: 16>15 (Up 1)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #621-#622
Whisky Network Reviews #739-#740

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.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Bunnahabhain 14 PX & Moine Marsala Reviews

Hi everyone,

Bunna + Sherry amirite?!
In all seriousness, Bunnahabhain seems to work very well with a kick of sweetness to it. And I’m trying to make an effort to get to know my least favourite Islay a little better, because yes, it deserves a bit more love from me.

Bunnahabhain 14 PX finish 54.3%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: A sweet and Earthy one. Sherry, malt, BBQ glaze, fig and plum, plum pudding,
Water: Opens up with water, honey and golden raisin.
Taste: Sweet and juicy, slightly Earthy, plum and fig, raisin, tobacco, sea salt, oily spice, then quite a lot of oak comes through and into the finish.
Water: Softer, very nice balance, fresher with golden raisin, liquorice and fig.
Finish: Long. Quite sharply oaky actually, Euro oak maybe?, black raisin too and that thick PX hit.
2003-2017. 2nd fill Sherry then 3 year finishing in PX. I more than like this, it’s great but the next one blew it away.
81/100
 
Bunnahabhain Moine Marsala 56.6%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Classically Bunna but with this BBQ meaty note, sweet, cherry, smoke, malt, black pepper.
Taste: Soft but with powerful smoke, meaty BBQ, cherry, dry smoke. A really nice balance of the sweet, meaty and smoky here.
Finish: Long length. Lovely, smoke and sweetness, powerful and balanced. Great finish.
2004-2017, 4 year finish. Distillery exclusive. Great, great Bunna. In fact, the third best I’ve tasted. If you’re a fan, this one you need to try.
86/100

Distillery: Bunnahabhain
Average Score: 76.5
Distillery Ranking: 25th/ 61 places
Up/Down: 31>25 (Up 6)

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Reviews #619-#620
Whisky Network Reviews #737-#738

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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