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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Mortlach 1991 Signatory: TWE Show Report

Hey guys,

Got an older meaty Mortlach today. I’ve heard in the past of the savoury Mortlach style, but never really experienced it. From what I know it tends to come from the sulphur-y style of the spirit, then matured in Sherry casks.

So, this one is an older Mortlach from Signatory fully matured in a Sherry cask and bottled pretty recently. Of course, the prices have been soaring to keep up with the ridiculous OB’s.

Mortlach 1991 Signatory 56.3%
Colour: Amber
Body: Full
Nose: Meaty! Pastrami, salami, black pepper, men’s cologne. The Sherry influence is pretty obvious but the spirit is balancing it well.
Taste: Spicy pastrami, amazing meaty fruit, pomegranate, meaty raisin, men’s cologne again.
Finish: Long length. More meaty with some oak, cologne and spice.
Bottled 2016 at 25 years old. This is amazing, lovely style but maybe not for vegetarians.
84/100

Review #247

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Friday, 30 December 2016

Glen Grant 2004: TWE Show Report

Hey guys,

Some more reviews today, this time a recent Glen Grant.

Gordon & MacPhail have a pretty incredible selection when it comes to Glen Grant. They seem to have a bottling for every vintage from 1980-1949! Although not many younger bottlings. This 2004 being the exception.

Sherry casks have been favoured in the past, although the distillery seems to be moving towards more of a floral Bourbon style recently.

Glen Grant has a cool purifier (like Ardbeg), which only allows the lightest alcohol and flavours to come through into the spirit. You can find my visit to Glen Grant here: Shameless Plug

Glen Grant 2004 43%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Malty, fresh Sherry, nutty, toffee, raisin. It’s soft with no trace of youth.
Taste: Very soft, malt, young spice, ginger biscuit, raisin, Sherry syrup.
Finish: Medium length. A little unbalanced with more oak.
This is a nice style of Glen Grant in opposition to the Bourbon style maturation of recent OB’s, just a shame the finish was a little overly oaky.
69/100

Review #246

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Balbalir 1983 Review: TWE Show Report

Hi everyone,
Got a quick Balblair review for you today, which fits nicely with the vertical I did ages ago.
As I’ve said before, it’s underrated, natural whisky.
Apologies but pic is of the 1st release, but this one would be the most recent.

Balblair 1983 46%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Seems a little closed but definitely classic Balblair from my experience. Vanilla, light fruit, oak, light spice.
Taste: Quite full on the taste, biscuit, custard, oak, spice, vanilla, good balance. Building spice and oak.
Finish: Long length. Classic Balblair, coconut and vanilla, oak.
A lovely natural progression to the range I’ve tried, all from Bourbon barrels of increasing ages. All showing a really nice natural style. This is pretty reasonably priced for a 30 year old but if you are a fan of light whisky, you’ll like this. Personally I prefer them heavy as they go but I can appreciate the other side of the coin too.
82/100

Review #245

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Laphroaig QA Cask Review

Hey Everyone,

Hope you've all had a great Christmas!
I left my whisky notebook in my car and was on holiday without it. Damn.
But, in Heathrow I just had a quick taste of a Laphroaig and thought I'd share my impressions.

Laphroaig QA Cask 40%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Soft, light peat, vanilla. A light one for Laphroaig.
Taste: More intense taste, classic peat, very oily, vanilla, oak, bonfire, TCP.
Finish: Medium length. Peat bonfire and soft vanilla.
This was finished in 'fresh' American oak barrels. Not sure if they are virgin oak or 1st fill Bourbon. Id guess Bourbon from the colour. I'd rate this the same as the 10yo probably, lacking on the nose really.
69/100

Review #244

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Kininvie 23 Review: TWE Show Report

Hi guys,

I'll be without a laptop for a few days but hopefully will be able to keep posting through the Christmas period.

Kininvie is a still house in the grounds of the Balvenie Distillery. In my opinion, it is not a distillery. Only a brand.
Why do I think that? Well, have a look at Wikipedia, then Malt Madness. Kininvie does not have a mash tun or fermenting tanks, all that is done at Balvenie.
Compare that to Macallan, who have 3 seperate distilleries on the same estate and still refer to it as the same single malt and you'll start to see the line a little blurred.

Is this still house even in production at the moment? No one seems to know. With the new Ailsa Bay distillery in Girvan, I doubt William Grant even need the Kininvie still house any more.

Who cares? Well, maybe the people buying the 35cl bottles for £120?!

What are they getting for all that money? A whisky that was made to satisfy more demand for blends. Yep, it's a filler malt from Balvenie Distillery. In my opinion.
 
Kininvie 23 42.6%
Colour: Straw
Body: Light
Nose: Light, malty, floral, lots of clean grainy notes, pressed flowers and lavender.
Taste: Very malty, grain, light, floral notes and a clean natural sweetness.
Finish: Short/Medium length. More oak comes through.
I would have thought this is the latest batch, but unsure on exact batch/vintage. Not bad at all but the price is absolutely crazy.
71/100

Apologies for the rant, but I'd hate for people to actually buying this not knowing anything about it.

Thanks for reading!

Review #243

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Tomatin 1995 + 36 Reviews: TWE Show Report

Hi everyone,

Got some Tomatin today. I had only tried the Tomatin Legacy, the basic NAS version, before going to the show and didn’t really seek these out to try them. Rather, the Tomatin’s came to me to be tried.

I know at least one person who really rates Tomatin as one of the best, but to me it was just another quiet Highland malt. They’ve kind of ramped up the marketing recently though, changing the bottle shape and expanding the range.

So, both of these were tasted right at the end of the first day at The Whisky Exchange Show London, after 38 other whiskies. I was standing by the Balblair table trying the 1983 (coming up), chatting to some friends by the Tomatin table next door. 
Suddenly they call last pours and all hell breaks loose with people running about to retry their favourites before the end. I knew I had the next day, so wasn’t too bothered but decided to try a Tomatin while I was at the stand.
 
Tomatin 1995 Sherry Finish 46%
Colour: Light Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Sherry, vanilla, oak and a slightly sulphur-y note, like melting rubber.
Taste: Soft, easy style. Sherry, raisin, oak, fresher fruit coming in but then lots of oak.
Finish: Medium length. Oak, Sherry and sulphurous rubber.
This is 21 years old and finished for the final 3 years in Oloroso Sherry Hogsheads. Unfortunately, the sulphury side of the Sherry is coming out and it’s a little too oaky for my taste.
74/100

And then, just when I thought it was all over, a gem fell into my lap. A friend of a friend, literally someone I barely knew passed me a glass and told me to try it. It was lovely, but he then told me that it was his Dream Dram for the day! A guy I hardly knew, sharing his best whisky of the day. What a guy.

Tomatin 36 Batch 2 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Incredible fresh fruit, amazing balance.
Taste: Fresh fruit, tropical fruit, balanced oak and spice.
Finish: Long length. Oaky and tropical.
Sorry for the short notes but a really, really good one. Wasn’t expecting this in so many ways, a wonderful whisky. Of course, the price is high too (£500).
87/100

Thanks for reading! More to come of course, still got about 20 reviews to go from the show.

Reviews #241-#242

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Old Pulteney 21 Review: TWE Show Report

Hi everyone,

Another one from me today, this time an old timey Highlander. Old Pulteney is known for being good value for money and reviews of the 21yo have been hype-y, but it’s never really seemed to gain the kind of attention of other hyped bottlings. Actually, I find Old Pulteney a bit like Balblair in that it’s all good-great quality stuff but because it’s not a Sherry or peat bomb, no one is going batshit mental over it.

I’ve tried the 12 and 17 before but was really looking forward to trying this step up in the range.

Old Pulteney 21 46%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Salt, fruit and oak. Lovely balance of flavours. Tropical fruit with pineapple and sweet honey.
Taste: A salty nip to start, then softens with mango, pineapple, more salt then with white pepper from the oak.
Finish: Medium length. A lot more oak, some spice. A bit overly oaky in the finish.
I actually much prefer the 17 year old. This 21 has a lovely nose but the finish is a little too oaky for me.
76/100

Thanks for reading! Think some Tomatin is up next from me.

Review #240

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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

Port Askaig 19 + 30 Reviews: TWE Show Report

Port Askaig, a place. Where you start the Islay adventure if you get the ferry over, also a mystery malt from Islay by Speciality Drinks (The Whisky Exchange).

I’ve been corrected before, but speciality say that these releases have come from a few different Islay distilleries, from Bourbon and Sherry casks. However, all the ones I’ve tasted (albeit only 3) have tasted like refill Caol Ila. My review of the 16 is here.

Anyway, I’ve got 2 of the more expensive versions today.

Port Askaig 19 50.4%
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Fresh Caol Ila-esque tropical fruit, pineapple and some mango, lots of coal.
Taste: Quite strong and full, lots of smoke, pineapple, coal and white pepper.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Oak with pepper and spice.
A nice cask strength expression, I would expect maybe more intensity and complexity but it’s very nice indeed.
77/100

Port Askaig 30 45.8%
Colour: Gold
Body: Medium
Nose: Dusty tropical fruit, like an old Laphroaig, pineapple, mango and cinnamon combo, waxy.
Taste: Light, soft some peat develops but the age has tamed it. Lots of spice from the oak, very dry oak, sea salt, white pepper. Waxy and oily.
Finish: Long length. Tropical fruit and dry oak.
A different experience to the 19. Lots more oak but has lost the smoke really. Same mark.
77/100

These are course very nice whiskies but I wouldn’t be buying them for the price. The 30yo is about £200 I think.

Thanks for reading!

Reviews #238-#239

Network Average: 76
Best Score: 93
Worst Score: 44
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

Monday, 19 December 2016

Glenmorangie Signet Review: TWE Show Report

Hey gang,

Back for another quick review today. This one is the Glenmorangie Signet. Have I reviewed any Glenmorangie here yet? No? Oh, well they've got the tallest stills in Scotland but nothing has ever really interested me that much to try or buy many of them. Apart from the 12yo Portwood finish, which is lovely stuff I got on a deal.

So what's the deal with this Signet thing? It's a bit different and I'd heard good things from various sources. It's at a higher strength, partly Sherry matured (I think) and part of the whisky is made from chocolate malt (normally reserved for brewing, not distilling). However, it's also NAS, fancifully packaged and has a higher price tag, so let's proceed with caution.

Glenmorangie Signet 46%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium
Nose: Really very sweet. Marzipan, almond, cherry Bakewell tart. What I would describe as 'sticky sweet.'
Taste: Very soft arrival, light with marzipan and chocolate, expensive truffle chocolates, slightly earthy.
Finish: Medium length. Loads of chocolate, dark chocolate and chocolate truffles.
Don't know if my brain has unconsciously processed the chocolate malt info and made my find more chocolate but this is a pretty delicious whisky. For the price though, I think I'd be disappointed if I'd bought a bottle.
77/100

Thanks for reading! More coming up.

Review #237

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Work Score: 44
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 Great
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Highland Park 21 + 1989 G&M: TWE Show Report

Hello, hello

I’ve got some Highland Park reviews for you today. Some older ones actually. Highland Park is probably one of my favourite distilleries. The 12 is good and can be a pretty good deal, the 18 is great and the range just logically progresses with age. I’ve got some reviews coming up actually of a huge Highland Park vertical (all the way up to the 40yo!), but first I’ll finish with these TWE Show Reports.

So, this first one is from Gordon & MacPhail. This is the new 2016 release and is pretty cheap for old Highland Park.

Highland Park 1989 G&M 43%
Colour: Gold
Body: Light/Medium
Nose: Soft, obvious age with refill oak, light for Highland Park though, malt and some coal.
Taste: Softly spiced at first, then wonderful tropical fruit after a second, it keeps building with pineapple and mango with more oak coming in behind.
Finish: Medium length. Very light, the tropical notes fade with oak stepping forward.
A lovely natural one at 27 years old. I imagine this is from refill Hogsheads.
76/100

The 21 year old is the only Highland Park that I haven’t tasted in their normal age stated range now. So, I had to have a taste at the whisky show to complete my set of notes.

Highland Park 21 47.5%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Deep, rich and decadent. 1st fill Sherry notes, raisin and stewed fruit.
Taste: Spicy! Intense Sherry, lovely smoke going through it, cooling ash, raisin, fig and date. Really rich and just great.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Coffee and dark chocolate.
A really great one. The higher Abv is really helping this and it is a really nice step up from the 18. These are getting more expensive these days though.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Reviews #235-#236

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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 Great
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Amrut Peated Cask Strength: TWE Show Report

Hi guys and gals,

Today I’ve got an Amrut review. This was tasted at the Whisky Exchange Show London 2016. 
Amrut enjoys a bit of a reputation and after tasting Fusion back in May I saw why. It was lovely, so I was curious to try more and in the end I went for something I thought would be up my street: Amrut Peated Cask Strength.

Amrut Peated Cask Strength 62.8%
Colour: Dark Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Really intense of course but not on the peaty side weirdly. Very spicy with lots of clove, liquorice and aniseed.
Water: Much lighter with vanilla and caramel.
Taste: Very boozy, alcohol, intense fruit, intense oak and a little smoke. Not really peaty as such, not in an Islay way anyway.
Water: Much lighter again, some smoke, vanilla and toffee.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Boozy, fruit and oak.
This certainly was an interesting experience but was not was I was expecting. I was expecting a peat bomb but this didn’t seem very peaty at all. The oak is very loud and is lacking balance from that I think.
72/100

Thanks for reading!

Review #234

Network Average: 75.9
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 44
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