Today’s the big day. 500 Scotch reviews later and I am to be crowned (On Reddit you get a crown next to your username at 500 Scotch reviews). Is there a ceremony? With like candles and priests, some kind of creepy ritual maybe? A whisky sacrifice, where someone pours 1945 Macallan over my head?
We don’t know. Only one other has worn the crown so far, and it’s an honour to be the second!
I actually tasted these two whiskies last Christmas as my actual 500th whiskies tasted (in total) and bought the samples way back to make sure I’d be able to actually taste some Brora and Port Ellen before they become extinct… Although now they’re going to be resurrected and I’ve tried others now anyway.
I could give you a long essay on the distilleries, why they closed or what I think of them reopening. Or I could chat about how amazing this community is and what it means to me. But I think you guys and girls know that and instead, I’m going to just get to my notes and leave you with that.
Brora 35 1977 Special Releases 2013 49.9%
Nose: Immediately more intense than the 2016 release. Waxy, sea salt, crystallised fruit, dried mango, dried pineapple, complex spices and oak, nutmeg, a little cinnamon, some white pepper. More smoke making itself noticeable, old Talisker style smoke with oily pepper, maritime echoes, perfumed oak. Worn leather, dusty fruitiness, old books, old paper. Continues developing, one minute more fruity, then more smoky, then more oaky. Layered and complex.
Taste: Clean arrival, amazing immaculate development with crystallised fruit, mango, pineapple, cinnamon, nutmeg and tingling spices, oak making itself known, oily, waxy mouthfeel, keeps developing, more smoke coming in, Talisker-esque, white pepper, perfumed smoke. Really great balance, although the oak is speaking quite loudly.
Finish: Long length. A kick of soot, dry oak, tingling spices, marine echoes, sea salt, dried mango. Mouth watering goes on and on.
Much better than the 2016 38yo. Really reminds me of 30yo Talisker.
Port Ellen TBWC Batch 5 47.1%
Nose: The unique perfumed Port Ellen smoke, more intense than the Rare Malt though, black liquorice, cracked black pepper, salty smoked haddock, lemon sherbet, lemon drizzle cake, the oak is pretty seamless. Slightly earthy, malt,
Taste: Soft arrival, builds slowly with perfumed smoke, tingling spices, intensely drying oak, old leather, then goes very marine, smoked fish, mackerel?, lemon sherbet. Much more smoky into the finish with oily black pepper and a good blast of soot. Still quite intensely peaty.
Finish: Long length. Ash, soot, spices and dry oak. Lemon sherbet continues.
Not as complex as the Brora, but just as good. Not quite up to the excellent Batch 6 though.
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Review #499-#500
Whisky Network Review #575-#576
Network Average: 74.6
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 22
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
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 am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.